Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rural Midwest bankers see economy improving

"An economic index based on a survey of rural Midwestern bankers this month reached its highest level in nearly four years and indicates optimism about the coming six months," Steve Jordon reports for the Omaha World-Herald.

The Rural Mainstreet Index is based on responses from rural bankers in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. The latest index was was 59.4 on a 100-point scale, marking the sixth straight month above 50. A figure below 50 indicates a declining economy.

“Higher oil prices have yet to derail or even slow the pace of growth for the Rural Mainstreet economy,” said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, "who originated the index in 2005 with Greeley, Neb., banker Bill McQuillan. A year ago, the index was 44.2," Jordon writes.

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