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Economic growth expected to slow in 2007

Iowans should see an average economy in 2007, with relatively low inflation and moderate unemployment, according to a forecast from the University of Iowa’s Institute for Economic Research.

The group also anticipates continued growth in personal income in 2007, climbing about 2.1 percent after being adjusted for inflation. Personal income grew 3.2 percent in 2006. The projection is in line with expectations for the U.S. economy, the report said.

"Employment and the purchasing power of our incomes will grow very close to, if not quite at, historical averages," said Charles Whiteman, director of the institute and a professor of economics.

The institute, which advises the governor’s economic council, says employment growth has been relatively strong in Iowa in the past two years. In 2005, non-farm employment grew 1.6 percent and 1.7 percent in 2006. Employment should grow 1.1 percent in 2007, the group said.

Iowa’s strongest employment growth category is in durable goods manufacturing, which the institute expects to grow by 1.4 percent this year.

"The manufacturing sector of Iowa’s economy grew by 2.9 percent in 2006 so while we are expecting it to slow this year, the state is still in much better shape than at the national level, where the manufacturing sector is expected to continue to decline," Whiteman said.

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