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News Brief

Feb. 20, 2024Omaha, Neb. |  By: Jeremy Werner

Rural Mainstreet Index shows continuing decline


OMAHA, Neb. - In the latest economic snapshot of rural America, the Rural Mainstreet Index has continued its downward trend, marking the sixth consecutive month below the growth neutral threshold.

According to a survey of bank CEOs across 10-states, including Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, February's overall rating dipped to 46.2 from January's 48.1, indicating ongoing economic challenges.

Officials with the Index pointed to higher interest rates, weakened agricultural commodity prices, and credit constraints as major negatives impacting both rural businesses and farmers.

The report reveals that nearly three-fourths of bank CEOs identified low farm commodity prices as the primary risk for farms in 2024.

Farm equipment sales remained sluggish, with the index falling below growth neutral for the eighth time in nine months. On the banking front, loan volumes and checking deposits saw declines, reflecting tightening credit conditions.