OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The economy remains sluggish in rural areas of 10 Western and Plains states.

The monthly survey of rural bankers released Thursday shows the overall remains in negative territory even though it increased slightly. The index increased to 40.9 in May from April's 38.2.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says weak grain prices and farm values continue to weigh on the economy in rural areas.

On the survey indexes any score below 50 suggests that factor will decline.

The farm equipment sales index remained exceptionally weak at 10.7 in May, just below April's 11.1. Farmers are delaying major purchases because of the environment.

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