Iowa Public Television


Midwest, Plains bankers optimistic on economy

posted on July 22, 2011


 OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Rural bankers in 10 Midwest and Plains states are still positive in their outlook for the economy, although their optimism may be waning, according to a monthly survey of bankers released Thursday.

     The overall Rural Mainstreet index dipped from 56.0 in June to 55.7. Anytime the index, which ranges from 0 to 100, is over 50, it suggests the economy will expand over the next six months. Bankers in rural parts of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are surveyed.

     Flooding and other weather-related issues are eroding some bankers' confidence, said Creighton University Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey.

     "Even though the Rural Mainstreet economy is expanding, many of our indicators are trending lower," Goss said.

     The confidence index also slipped in July, to 55.0 from last month's 55.3.

     Among the other indicators that slipped were the farming indexes. The farmland price index was 59.4, down from June's 62, while the farm equipment index fell from 63.1 last month to 53.7.

     The region also lost jobs after seven straight months of gains.The jobs index slipped from 51.5 in June to 49.3. Still, Goss said the pace of job growth in rural areas is stronger than in cities in the 10-state region.

     The home sales index fell from June's 53.0 to 51.4. But the retail sales index grew from 47.0 to 47.9 in July.

     The loan volume index rose to 66.4 from 59.0. The checking deposit index declined to 52.8 in July from 59.7. And the index for certificates of deposit and other savings instruments was up, hitting 43.7 after June's 41.7.



Tags: banks business economy news rural