|OMAHA, Neb. (Sept. 15, 2022) — The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) fell for the fifth straight month, sinking below growth neutral for a fourth consecutive month, according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy. |
Farm equipment sales: After falling below growth neutral in August, the farm equipment-sales index soared to 58.0 for September from 45.9 in August. The index has risen above growth neutral for 21 of the last 22 months.
Overall: The region’s overall reading for September once again sank below growth neutral to 46.3, but it was up from 44.0 in August. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral. This was the fourth consecutive month the overall reading has fallen below growth neutral.
Four of 10 bankers indicated that high and escalating farm input costs were the greatest economic challenge to their bank and area over the next 12 months.
“The Rural Mainstreet economy is now experiencing a downturn in economic activity. Supply chain disruptions and inflationary pressures from higher farm input costs continue to constrain growth. Farmers and bankers are bracing for escalating interest rates, higher farm input costs, and drought,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.
Farming and ranching: The region’s farmland price index for September climbed to 61.1 from August’s 60.0, marking the 24th straight month that the index has moved above growth neutral.
Confidence: The slowing economy, strong energy prices and high agriculture input prices constrained the business confidence index to 40.7 in September, which was up from 38.0 in August.
The survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. The index provides the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy. Goss and Bill McQuillan, former chairman of the Independent Community Banks of America, created the monthly economic survey and launched it in January 2006.
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