Middle America bankers survey index drops slightly

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of bankers in 10 Midwest and Great Plains states shows the rural economy slowing down, but reflects strong gains in hiring and farmland prices. The Rural Mainstreet Index released Thursday dropped slightly from 59.8 last month to 59.6 in February. Anytime the index, which ranges from 1 to 100, is above 50, it suggests the economy will grow. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says he expects to see slower growth in farm income as a result of softer agriculture commodity prices and higher overhead costs. The economic confidence index, which reflects expectations for the economy six months out, rose to 60.3 from January’s 56.1. The survey covers Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and Wyoming.