OMAHA, Neb. l The economy in rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states remains strong as healthy rainfall this spring helps crops get established.

The overall economic index for the region grew to 60.5 in June from May's 58.8. That suggests growth in the months ahead.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the monthly survey, says the bankers are optimistic because of the consistent growth in the national economy and improving crop conditions.

The confidence index grew to 60 in June from May's 54.5.

The indexes range from 0 to 100, with 50 representing growth neutral. Any score above 50 suggests economic growth in the months ahead.

The index is based on a survey of rural bankers in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

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