Prices continue to rise in mountain states

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— Prices continued to rise in the mountain states region while the overall index dropped slightly in September, an economist said Friday.

The overall index for Colorado, Wyoming and Utah was 57.3 in September, down from August's reading of 59.9, Creighton University (Neb.) economics professor Ernie Goss said.

''September's index still shows continuing growth over the next quarter for the mountain states region, although there has been some softness in export orders and a continued shortage of workers.''

The prices paid index rose for the ninth consecutive month with a September index of 69.8, up from the August reading of 66.6.

''This is the highest prices paid index since November 1996 when the index was 70.8, indicating inflationary pressures are continuing. The same pressures are present now that existed in 1996: increasing wage and benefit costs,'' said Goss, .

Goss conducts a monthly survey of purchasers in three states to produce the Mountain States Business Conditions Survey, a leading economic indicator of the region's economy.

The overall index ranges between 0 and 100. An index number greater than 50 indicates an expansionary economy, and an index under 42 normally forecasts contractionary economic conditions in the months ahead.

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