For the first time in nearly two years, the overall Business Conditions Index for a nine-state region of the Midwest and Plains took a negative turn.
Tuesday's report on the survey of supply managers and executives says the index dropped to 49.9 in October, compared with 52.2 in September.
Organizers say any survey score above 50 suggests growth while a score below 50 suggests decline for that factor.
Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss oversees the survey. He says one reading slightly below a growth-neutral 50 doesn't signal a recession. But Goss says the October figure is evidence that the weakness in the national economy has hit the regional economy.
The states are Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.