Strong Economic Growth Continues in Rural Areas of 10 States | Iowa News


OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Strong economic growth continues in rural areas of 10 lowland and western states, according to a new monthly survey of area bankers.

The region’s overall economic index improved in October to 66.1 from the already high 62.5 in September. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 suggests a shrinking economy.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who is overseeing the survey, said the region was benefiting from strong grain prices, persistently low interest rates and growing agricultural exports. USDA figures show that agricultural exports have increased by more than 25% so far this year.

Farmland prices in the region continue to rise even though the cropland price index slipped in October to 81.5 from a record high of 85.2 in September.

Demand for workers remains high, but companies are struggling to find people to hire, Goss said. The hiring index rose in October to reach a very high level of 71.4 against 67.9 in September.

But bankers were less optimistic about the economy. The confidence index fell to 51.8 in October from the much stronger reading of 65.4 in September.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were interviewed.

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