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The Rural Mainstreet Index Climbs Above Growth Neutral – Including Nebraska

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) for October climbed 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.

The overall index rose to 51.4 from 50.1 in September. Although still weak, this is the highest reading since June of this year. It also marked the third time in the past four months that the overall index has risen above growth neutral.

“Federal agriculture crop support payments and somewhat higher grain prices have boosted the Rural Mainstreet Index slightly above growth neutral for the month. Even so, almost three of four bank CEOs, or 73%, reported continuing negative impacts from the trade war,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

But as stated by Jim Stanosheck, CEO of State Bank in Odell, Nebraska, “What is happening in the economy today is exactly what voters voted for.”

The Nebraska RMI for October rose to 48.5 from September’s 47.6. The state’s farmland-price index increased to 44.6 from last month’s 42.3. Nebraska’s new-hiring index increased to 49.1 from September’s 45.2.  Over the past 12 months rural areas in Nebraska have lost jobs at a rate of minus 1.1% compared to a gain of 1.8% for urban areas of the state.

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