Rural banker survey index drops dramatically in July



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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Drought conditions in some areas and weak grain prices are among factors weighing heavily on the rural economy in parts of 10 Plains and Western states.

The overall Rural Mainstreet Index for the region plummeted to 40.7 in July from June's index of 50. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with any number under 50 indicating a shrinking economy.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says July's was the largest one-month decline recorded in the index since November 2008, which was in the middle of the Great Recession.

The confidence index, which reflects bankers' expectations for the economy six months out, slumped to 38.4 this month from 48.9 in June.

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

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The Associated Press

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