Survey of bankers shows gains in rural economy of 10 states | Nebraska News

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – The rural economy in parts of 10 plains and western states continues to grow, but rural bank CEOs say their biggest fears for the 2021 economy are excessive inflation and rates higher long-term interest rates, according to a new monthly banker survey.

The overall Rural Mainstreet Survey index improved to 52.0 in January from 51.6 in December – the highest reading since before the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year.

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, reiterated that improving farm commodity prices, federal farm support payments and record short-term interest rates from the Federal Reserve have supported the region’s economy. But rural bankers continue to fear that fewer farmers taking out loans will damage their institutions.

“About 44% of bank CEOs expect weak loan demand to be the biggest problem their banks face in 2021,” Goss said.

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