Economy improves in rural parts of 10 states but still weak

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The economy has improved slightly in rural parts of 10 Western and Plains states, but a new survey suggests little growth ahead.

The overall Rural Mainstreet index improved to the neutral score of 50 in June from last month’s 49.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the strong dollar is continuing to hurt crop prices and exports, so farm income is down in the region.

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

The survey indexes range from 0 to 100. Any score below 50 suggests decline in that factor in the months ahead.

The weak crop prices and current bird flu outbreak have bankers worried. The confidence index registered 45.9 in June, up from 41.5 in May, but still negative.

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