OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Declining numbers in a new monthly survey of bankers suggests the economy remains weak in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states.

The overall economic index for the region dropped to 46.8 this month, compared with the December reading of 47.8. The November figure was 44.7. Survey organizers say any score below 50 suggests a shrinking economy in the months ahead.

The confidence index reflects expectations for the economy six months out, and it fell to 46.7 in the January survey from 51.2 in December.

However, Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says "year-over-year indices are trending higher." The January number a year ago was 42.8.

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

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