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Rural economies in Plains, upper Midwest still growing despite sluggish ag sector

Rural economies in Plains, upper Midwest still growing despite sluggish ag sector

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index for February still shows growth but a sluggish agriculture sector continues to impact the economy of the 10-state survey region that includes Nebraska.

The overall index sank more than a point from January to 50.2 last month, with Creighton University Professor Ernie Goss saying the rural main street economy is expanding outside of agriculture.

The Nebraska index dropped to 49.4, primarily due to falling farmland prices. Meanwhile, the report says Nebraska’s new-hiring index climbed nearly 3 points to 56.2 last month. Over the past 12 months, urban areas of the state increased jobs at a 1.5% rate, nearly double the rate of Nebraska’s Rural Mainstreet economy at a pace of 0.8%.

The monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas shows weak farm income has pushed almost two-thirds of banks to increase farm loan collateral requirements, with almost a third of lending institutions having increased their farm loan rejection rate.

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