By Linda H. Smith
As the U.S. economy emerges from recession, prospects for a rural rebound in 2010 are rising, says Jason Henderson, vice president and Omaha branch executive at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
"By the third quarter of 2009, economic gains in developing countries, coupled with a weaker dollar, strengthened U.S. ag export activity. Signs of a national recovery in the second half of the year included a modest rise in U.S. food expenditures. Meanwhile, stronger crude oil prices helped lift ethanol prices, profits and production.”
In March, housing construction posted its first year-over-year increase (1.6%) since June 2006, reports Ann Duignan of J.P. Morgan. Nonresidential construction continued to decline, on the other hand. "However, construction machinery orders were up 271% in March year over year construction machinery shipments posted their first year-over-year increase since November 2008—up 4%.”
April housing starts, announced today, were up 5.8% from March and 41% above a year earlier. Building permits were 16% above last year, the government announced.
The improving economy, combined with increased exports, should support farm income and profits and lead to improvements in the rural economy, these analysts say.