A monthly survey of bank executives in a 10-state region including Nebraska saw the Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index weaken slightly in February, even as trade deals pushed economic confidence to a seven-year high.
The report from economist Ernie Goss says the overall index remained above growth neutral at 51.6, but down more than four points from the January reading, due in large part to weak income in the agriculture sector.
Meanwhile, the index reflecting banker’s expectations for the economy six months out jumped more than eight points from January’s 50.0, the highest reading since June 2013.
Goss says the Nebraska RMI sank by less than a point to 48.3 this month, as the state’s new-hiring index dropped 3.5 points to 42.3 from January’s 45.8.
The report says over the past 12 months, rural areas in Nebraska lost jobs at a rate of minus 1.0% compared to a gain of 2.8% for urban areas of the state.