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Archive for Saturday, April 2, 2005

Oil prices fuel concerns in Midwest

April 2, 2005

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— Rising oil prices and interest rates have business managers across middle America concerned about their profits in the coming months, according to a monthly survey released Friday.

The confidence index for the Mid-America Business Conditions Survey in March dropped to 64.5 from February's 68.4, said Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss, who conducts the survey of business leaders and supply managers in a nine-state region.

A reading above 50 on the index indicates growth, while a reading below 50 means activity is slowing.

"Not surprisingly, the seven Federal Reserve rate increases since last June have yet to cool inflationary pressures in the economic pipeline," Goss said.

The index's overall reading fell to 61.3, down slightly from February's 62.3.

Rising oil prices and higher prices for imported goods pushed the regional prices-paid index to 79.6, which is lower than February's 79.7, Goss said.

The regional employment index declined slightly for March to 62.4, while new orders and production stood at 66.7 and 64.2, respectively.

The survey includes Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

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