Survey at 4-year high, but shows signs of trouble

News

January 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of bankers in 10 Midwest and Great Plains states puts the report’s overall index at a 4 1/2-year high, but other indicators show trouble ahead for the rural economy. The Rural Mainstreet Index released Thursday rose from 59.7 last month to 59.8 for January, the highest since June 2007. Anytime the index, which ranges from 1 to 100, is above 50, it suggests the economy will grow. But indexes tied to bankers’ responses to questions about farmland prices, loan volume, rural housing and hiring all dropped from last month. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says the results indicate a “leveling off” in the rural economy’s growth. The survey covers Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.