For the fourth time in the past five months, the Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index climbed above growth neutral, with the overall index for February rose to 53.8 from January’s 52.0
According to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region including Nebraska, the index increased to its highest level since January 2020.
Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss says sharp gains in grain prices, federal farm support, and the Federal Reserve’s record-low interest rates have underpinned the Rural Mainstreet Economy. Only 8% of bank CEOs indicated economic conditions worsened from the previous month.
Nebraska’s index expanded to 58.4 from January’s 55.6, primarily on the strength of a six-point rise in the state’s farmland-price index, and a nearly 10-point increase in new-hiring that placed that sub-category into the range showing growth.