OMAHA, Neb. - The recession will worsen and unemployment rates will likely soar in nine Midwest and Plains states over the next few months, but a new survey of business leaders suggests the region may fare better than the nation as a whole.
The overall index for the region's Mid-America Business Conditions survey fell to 33 in December from November's record low of 37.8. Any score below 50 on the index, which ranges between 0 and 100, indicates a contracting economy over the next three to six months.
"December's employment reading was the weakest that we have recorded since we began the study in 1994," Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss said.
The December employment index slid to 34.5 from November's 39 and October's 47.4.
Goss, who oversees the survey, said the recession will be worse than the nation's last one, in 2001, but he expects the region to fare better than the nation during the downturn.
The survey includes Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.