- Associated Press - Thursday, May 15, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The economy appears to be gaining strength in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states.

The overall economic index for the region improved to 55.6 in May from April’s 53.2, suggesting growth in the months ahead.

The survey of bankers in the region uses indexes that range from 0 to 100, with 50 representing growth neutral. A score above 50 suggests growth in that factor in the months ahead.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey. He says the results show the economy is improving in these rural areas that depend heavily on agriculture and energy production.

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

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