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OMAHA, Neb. — Business leaders are optimistic the economy will begin to recover later this year in a nine-state region of the Midwest and Plains despite the ongoing impact of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a monthly survey released Monday.

The overall index for the region improved in May to 43.5 from April’s 35.1 but it remained in negative territory. The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers said any score below 50 suggests decline. A score above 50 suggests growth.

The survey’s confidence index improved to suggest that businesses are optimistic the economy will begin to rebound within the next six months. That index improved to 56.6 in May from April’s weak 45.5 reading.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said the survey shows that the coronavirus outbreak has had a greater impact on businesses tied directly to the consumer and a smaller impact on manufacturers.

“This is a consumer led recession with manufacturing lagging. Nonetheless, Creighton’s survey indicates that the regional manufacturing sector is trapped in a recession,“ said Goss, who oversees the survey.

The monthly survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.