OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new report suggests the economy will continue growing at a slow pace in rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states in the months ahead.

The overall index for the report released Thursday rose to 54.3 in October from 52.4 in September. Any score above 50 suggests growth. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the recent decline in crop prices will likely slow economic growth.

The index is based on surveys of rural bankers in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. It ranges from 0 to 100, with 50 representing growth neutral. A score above 50 suggests growth in that factor in the months ahead. October's hiring index for the region jumped to 56.1 from September's 53.2 in an encouraging signal.