OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new monthly survey of bankers suggests growing improvement in the economy in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states.

But Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says bank CEOs' biggest fears for 2021 are excessive inflation and higher long-term interest rates.

The overall index of January's Rural Mainstreet Survey improved to 52.0 from December’s 51.6 — the highest reading since before the onset last year of the coronavirus pandemic.

Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 suggests a shrinking economy.

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

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