Banker survey shows rural economic improvement


Banker survey shows rural economic improvement

A survey of Midwestern bank CEOs indicates improvement in the rural economy. The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index shows growth for the fourth time in five months. Creighton rural economist Ernie Goss calls it positive news.

“The rural Main Street economy, especially that connected to agriculture, is doing very well, in fact [it’s] the best numbers we’ve seen since January of last year,” Goss told Brownfield Ag News Thursday. “And of course, that’s before COVID-19, the impacts of that, hit a month or two later.”

Goss credits better grain prices, government stimulus checks and the vaccine roll-out, along with bankers’ expectations of better livestock prices. This will likely lead to greater inflation, which could result in higher long-term interest rates, said Goss, short-term rates will remain low.

“The Federal Reserve sets those and they’ll keep them low, but on the long end that will mean mortgage rates and other long-term interest rates, those are likely to rise as inflation rises,” said Goss, “but I think even there we’re going to see a somewhat muted response.”

Bankers in the ten-state area expect farm equipment sales to expand by 3.8% over the next 12 months.

The states covered in the survey are Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

AUDIO: Ernie Goss