OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new monthly survey shows the economy in nine Midwest and Plains states remaining strong in the wake of a devastating global pandemic, but the survey’s index gauging inflation soared to a record high. The Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions for May released Tuesday came in at 72.3, down slightly from April’s record high of 73.9. Any score above 50 on the survey’s indexes suggests growth. But the survey’s wholesale inflation gauge for the month surged to a record 96.3 from April’s previous record of 96.2, and nearly 1 in 3 supply managers surveyed said rapidly rising input prices were their greatest 2021 economic challenge. The monthly survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.