Survey suggests weakening economy lies head for rural parts of 10 Midwestern, Western states

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OMAHA, Nebraska — A monthly survey of bankers suggests a weakening economy lies ahead for rural parts of 10 Midwestern and Western states.

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index for March sank to 43.6, its lowest level since February 2010. Last month's figure was 46.4.

Creighton University economics Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says "the stronger U.S. dollar is undermining the farm and energy sectors by weakening agricultural exports, crop prices, livestock prices and energy prices."

The index ranges from 0 to 100. Any score above 50 suggests growth while a score below 50 suggests decline. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

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