The economic downturn will last well into next year, and while credit is “widely available” to businesses in its district, lenders have raised standards for the diminished number of applicants, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, which released its 2009 outlook yesterday.

“The outlook for local economies is dismal across most of the district, the worst in the 18-year history of the business leaders poll,” the bank said. Expectations are for widespread declines in business investment, employment, and consumer spending.

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