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Report: Overall index of rural economy in November was 'growth neutral' in survey of bankers

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OMAHA, Nebraska — An index of the rural economy in 10 Midwestern and Plains states says growth was neutral in October.

The Rural Main Street Index hit 50.0 in November, up from 43.4 the previous month. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says that even though the index rose sharply, low grain and energy prices continue to restrain the rural economy.

Higher input costs and lower crop prices are squeezing farm profitability across the region. Farmland prices declined for the 12th straight month, and farm-equipment sales declined for the 16th consecutive month. Bankers also reported a nearly 30 percent increase in regulatory compliance costs since the passage of the Dodd-Frank bill in Congress.

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

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