The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index climbed above growth neutral in May for the fourth-straight month.
The index surveys bank CEOs in rural areas across a ten-state region that depends on agriculture or energy to power its economy. It’s the first time since 2015 that the index readings have been above growth-neutral in four consecutive months.
The growth index rose to 56.3, its highest reading since July of 2013, also up from 53.5 in April. The index ranges from 0 to 100, with 50 being growth neutral.
Ernie Goss, Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University, says, “Over the past several months, surveys indicate the rural economy is trending upward with improving and positive economic growth. While commodity prices have improved recently, prices are still below break-even for a large share of farmers.”
Over 36 percent of bank CEOs cite rising regulatory costs at the top economic challenge to their banking operations over the next five years. Bankers reported an average cash rental rate of $239 per acre, which is about three percent lower than last year.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.