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Originally published Friday, January 22, 2010 at 6:38 AM

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Survey: Rural bankers' economic optimism rising

Rural Midwest and Plains bankers who responded to a monthly survey remain optimistic about economic prospects despite signs of continued regional weakness.

The Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. —

Rural Midwest and Plains bankers who responded to a monthly survey remain optimistic about economic prospects despite signs of continued regional weakness.

According to a report issued Thursday evening, the overall index for the Rural Mainstreet economic inched up in January, to 41.0 from 40.9 in December.

It was the fifth monthly increase in a row, but organizers say the figure indicates significant economic weakness.

The index ranges between 0 and 100, and a reading of 50.0 is considered growth neutral.

The monthly confidence index rose to 59.7 from December's 53.7 and November's 50.1.

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

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