Mar 16, 2012 - The Associated PressOMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Higher fuel prices haven't slowed the economy much in rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states.
The monthly survey of rural bankers showed no change in March.
The overall economic index registered 59.6 again this month, and any score above 50 suggests the economy will grow, according to the methodology of the long-established analysis.
The bankers appear quite optimistic about the next six months because the confidence index rose to 63 in March from February's 60.3.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says there is still a fair amount of uncertainty about the economy, so many farmers and businesses are reluctant to expand.
The hiring index rose to 60 in March from February's 53.7, suggesting businesses are hiring.
The survey covers rural banking date collected in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
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