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Rural economy strong in 10 states

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Higher fuel prices haven't slowed the economy much in rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states.

A monthly survey of rural bankers showed no change in March. The overall economic index registered 59.6 again this month, and any score above 50 suggests the economy will grow.

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The bankers appear quite optimistic about the next six months because the confidence index rose to 63 in March from February's 60.3.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said there is still a fair amount of uncertainty about the economy, so many farmers and businesses are reluctant to expand.

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