Friday, November 18, 2016

Rural Mainstreet Index in agriculture-and-energy heartland up a bit, still negative

Last month the Rural Mainstreet Index was up slightly but still below 50 on a scale of 100 for the 15th straight month, indicating economic decline in the 10-state region that stretches from Illinois to Wyoming and is dependent on agriculture and energy. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss surveys bank CEOs in rural areas of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming and the Dakotas.

The index in November was 36.6, up from October when it was 31.8, the lowest since 2009. It was at 49 in September 2015. Farmland prices declined for the 36th straight month and bankers expect 20.7 percent of livestock producer to experience 2016 cash expenses greater than cash revenues

Goss reported, "Farm commodity prices continue to slam Rural Mainstreet economies. Over the past 12 months, livestock commodity prices have tumbled by 27.2 percent and grain commodity prices have slumped by 16.6 percent. The economic fallout from this price weakness continues to push growth into negative territory for seven of 10 states in the region." (Creighton graphic: Rural Mainstreet Index)

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