Rural Mainstreet Index Improves for September

Since descending to a record low in April, the Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) has climbed for five consecutive months. It still, however, remains below growth neutral at 46.9.

The September farm equipment-sales index slipped to 32.1 from 32.8 in August. Readings below 50 reflect a recessionary economic zone on the zero-to-100 scale.

“Recent improvements in agriculture commodity prices, federal stimuli and Federal Reserve record low interest rates have underpinned the Rural Mainstreet Economy. Bank CEOs estimated that farm income, including government support, was down only 1.5 percent from this time last year,” said Ernie Goss, Ph.D., chair in regional economics at Creighton University.

Almost one out of four bankers, or 23.1 percent, reported that their local economies were back to pre-coronavirus levels.

The confidence index improved to 50 from August’s 44.6.