The economic outlook for rural areas of 10 states in the Plains and the West improved in November, but the monthly survey of bankers doesn't suggest much growth.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says low grain and energy prices continue to limit the economy in rural areas.
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The overall economic index for the region improved for the first time since May, but it only reached the neutral score of 50. That's up from 43.4 in October.
The survey indexes range from 0 to 100. Any score below 50 suggests decline in that factor in the months ahead.
Bankers from rural areas of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.