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Rural Mainstreet Index Climbs to Highest Level in Years

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) for January climbed to its highest level since June 2018.

January’s reading marked the fifth straight month the reading has moved above growth neutral according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.

While the overall index for January rose to 55.9 from 50.2 in December. It was the 11th time in the past 12 months that the index has risen above growth neutral 50.0.

Highlights of the survey:

  • Farm loans fell to lowest level in almost seven years.
  • Two of three Nebraska bankers reported property taxes as a significant factor reducing farm profitability, while only one of ten non-Nebraska bankers indicated that property taxes were a significant factor reducing farm profitability.
  • Farm equipment sales declined for the month. On average, bankers expect sales to decline by another 4.2% in 2020.

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