Heartening News For The Heartland

Housing isn't the only area in which the Midwest is doing relatively well. At last count, retail sales there were up 3.4% over the past year, compared with a 1.9% rise nationally. And in Dun & Bradstreet Corp.'s latest survey of business sentiment, the East North Central (Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana) and Rest North Central states (Minnesota, the Dakotas, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa) were two of only three regions expecting a stronger fourth quarter (the other was the Mountain region). Indeed, of the nine Census Bureau regions, the East North Central region was the only one anticipating a pickup in profits, while the West North Central region posted the sharpest rises in both inventory and employment expectations.

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