West North Central Regional Forecast
Iowa • Kansas • Minnesota • Missouri • Nebraska • North Dakota • South Dakota
Surprisingly, this region will lead the United States out of recession, according to Moody's/economy.com. Unemployment is quite low in many of the region's MSAs and Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota and large parts of Iowa enjoy unemployment rates of near or below the full employment rate of 5.2 percent. While biofuels have always been big business in Iowa and other parts of this region, economists are turning their attention to the rapid growth of wind farms in the Dakotas and Iowa, which are geographically blessed with steady winds and cooperative state governments, power utilities and licensing commissions to get the turbines spinning. Stadium construction in downtown Omaha, Neb., and St. Paul, Minn., and the new performing arts center in Kansas City, Mo., are attracting additional retail and commercial development to these cities.