Friday, January 20, 2017

Rural Mainstreet Index in farm-and-energy heartland remains negative for 17th straight month

The Rural Mainstreet Index remained below 50 for the 17th straight month, indicating economic weakness 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, measured on a scale of 100, was 42.8 in January, just below December's 42.9. It was at 49 in September 2015. Farmland prices remained below 50 for the 38th straight month, rising from 26.8 in December to 33.8 in January.

Goss said, “The overall index was virtually flat from last month. Over the past 12 months, livestock commodity prices have tumbled by 7.3 percent and grain commodity prices have slumped by 11.7 percent. The economic fallout from this price weakness continues to push growth into negative territory for five of the 10 states in the region." (Creighton graphic: Rural Mainstreet Index)

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