Survey suggests rural economy remains weak in 10 states

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of bankers suggests there's been a slight improvement in the weak economic outlook for rural areas of 10 Western and Plains states.

A report issued Thursday on the Rural Mainstreet Index says it rose to 43.9 this month from 40.9 in May. Survey officials say any score below 50 on any of the survey's indexes suggests that factor will decline.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says the overall index has remained below growth neutral for 10 months. He says that over the past 12 months, farm prices are down 9.5 percent, grain prices are off 4 percent and livestock prices are down 15 percent.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.