Global Economic Woes Slow Rural Economies

Published on: 15:01PM Jun 25, 2012

Mike Walsten

Economic growth in rural areas of 10 Midwestern states continues to slow due to problems in Europe and a slow-down in global economic growth, according to the monthly Rural Mainstreet Index published by Dr. Ernie Goss, Creighton University economist. The overall index on the survey of rural bankers decline to 56.7 in June, from May's 58.5. That's the lowest level for the index in 2012 but any score above 50 still suggests growth in the months ahead. The survey covers rural areas of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Goss says the results suggest areas dependent on agriculture and energy will generally continue growing, but at a slower pace. He says the global economic slowdown combined with the strong U.S. dollar have pushed agriculture and energy prices lower and hurt exports.

The farmland price index remains at a strong level of 60 in June, but that was down from 64.6 in May. The farm-equipment sales index also declined to 54.7 in June. from last month's 65.1.

Bankers remain confident about the economy over the next six months because the confidence index registered 58.5 in June. That's down from May's 60.2, but still above neutral at 50.

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