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Fed predicts moderate growth for 9th District

MINNEAPOLIS - The Upper Midwest should see moderate economic growth in 2007, although on Thursday the Ninth Federal Reserve District forecast slower growth than during 2006.

MINNEAPOLIS - The Upper Midwest should see moderate economic growth in 2007, although on Thursday the Ninth Federal Reserve District forecast slower growth than during 2006.

The Ninth District includes upper Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana.

The district predicted the strongest employment growth (2.1 percent) for Montana, while the biggest decrease was predicted for the Upper Peninsula in Michigan (-.7 percent). Minnesota's employment was expected to grow 1.5 percent.

Overall unemployment rates were expected to stay about the same from 2006 to 2007.

Among the main sectors of the economy:

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- Farmers and ranchers were cautious due to a changing marketplace.

- Manufacturers were expecting a strong 2007.

- Homebuilders had a tough year in 2006 and were expecting that bad trend to continue, however the district's economic models predicted a small rebound.

Wages were expected to grow between 2 percent and 3 percent throughout the district, although consumer spending was expected to remain flat.

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