Economy improves but still weak in rural parts of 10 states

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of bankers suggests the economy has improved in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states, but it’s still weak because crop prices remain low.

The overall economic index for the region remained in negative territory 42.9 in December even after improving significantly from November’s 36.6.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says weaker crop and meat prices continue to slow business in rural areas.

Survey officials say any score below 50 on any of the survey’s indexes suggests a decline in that area.

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

Goss says the economy is improving in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota while all the other states are trending lower.