OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- An economic index for 11 Midwest and Plains states dropped in February, the first decline in six months.
The overall index for the Rural Mainstreet bankers survey report hit 36.6, compared with 41.0 in January.
The index ranges between 0 and 100. Organizers say a score below 50 suggests the economy will contract in the next few months; above 50 indicates the economy will expand.
The index has remained below 50 for 24 consecutive months.
Survey organizer Ernie Goss of Creighton University says agriculture producers have been taking a conservative approach to their buying, which is reflected in the survey.
Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are surveyed.