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Minneapolis Fed Says Regional Economy Should Improve

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis said its regional economy should improve in 2011, helped by employment gains and higher businesses sales.

“The mild economic recovery that is under way is expected to warm up,” Toby Madden, a regional economist at the bank, said in a conference call with reporters today. “Things are looking good. Business optimism is back.”

The Minneapolis Fed, one of 12 regional Fed banks, serves a region with largely lower unemployment rates than the rest of the nation. States such as North Dakota and South Dakota are leading the U.S. economic recovery, as businesses across the U.S. struggle to recover from the deepest recession since World War II.

A poll of 408 business leaders in the bank’s district shows that 61 percent are “somewhat optimistic” about the outlook for their local economies during the next 12 months, higher than any time in the past two years. Two percent are “very optimistic,” 34 percent are “somewhat pessimistic” and 3 percent are “very pessimistic.”

The U.S. economic expansion as a whole hasn’t been strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate, prompting Fed officials last week to keep in place their plan to expand record monetary stimulus.

In addition to North Dakota and South Dakota, the Minneapolis Fed represents an area that includes Minnesota, Montana, and parts of Wisconsin and Michigan. It is led by the bank’s president, Narayana Kocherlakota.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vivien Lou Chen in San Francisco at vchen1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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