OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Pushed by rising farm commodity prices, the regional economy for nine Midwest and Plains states continues to improve at a healthy pace.

The Business Conditions Index for the Mid-America region rose for the fourth straight month, to 58.9 in January. That compares with 57.5 in December, 55.9 in November and 52.3 in October.

January was the 14th consecutive month that the index came in above growth neutral.

The survey and report use a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Organizers say any score above 50 suggests economic growth in the next three to six months, while a score below 50 suggests a contracting economy.

States in the survey are Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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