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The November Creighton University survey of rural bankers in 10 Midwest states where agriculture and energy are critical to the economy showed declining economic confidence and dim predictions for holiday retail sales. The index is a survey of bankers in about 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300 in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
- Nearly 55% of bankers think holiday sales will be lower than last year's, by about 3.1%.
- For the first time since 2013, the survey recorded above-growth-neutral readings in farmland prices for consecutive months.
- New hiring fell slightly from October, but stayed just above growth-neutral.
- Non-farm employment levels for the Rural Mainstreet economy are down by 132,000 non-seasonally adjusted jobs, or 3.2%, compared to pre-pandemic levels.