A monthly leading economic indicator for nine Midwestern states declined for a third month in June, indicating slower growth for the region in the next six months. The monthly Mid-America Business Conditions Index declined slightly to 55.6, down from 56.2 in May. The Midwestern index, which covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota, has been significantly stronger than national readings in the past few months, said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, director of the Creighton Economic Forecasting Group. Iowa's index declined for the first time in three months to 69.3, down from May's index of 70. "Over the past 12 months, Iowa durable goods producers and nondurable goods manufacturers have increased employment levels by more than 3 percent, which was tops in the region," Goss said in a release. "Our surveys over the past several months signal that this growth will continue over the next three to six months." The index averages indexes for new orders, production or sales, employment, inventories and delivery lead time; a number above 50 indicates an expanding economy.