OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A new survey of bankers suggests strong economic growth continues in rural parts of 10 Western and Plains states even though business continues to lag behind the level it was at before the coronavirus pandemic began. The overall index for the region declined slightly from March’s 71.9 but remained at a strong level of 69. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said improving grain prices, continued low interest rates and growing exports have all helped the economy in rural areas. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.