New survey of Plains, Western bankers says rural economy is growing

Published 9:09 pm Thursday, January 16, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. — A new survey of bankers suggests the economy is growing in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states.

The overall economic index for rural parts of the region improved to 55.9 in January from December’s weak 50.2 reading, according to the survey released Thursday. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, said only 18% of the bankers reported that their local area was in an economic downturn.

Email newsletter signup

Hiring remains strong across the region. The employment index increased to 61.8 in January from December’s 60.

The confidence index — a measure of economic optimism for the next six months — improved to 50 in January from December’s 45.8.

Goss said he expects confidence to grow in the months ahead because of this week’s signing of a trade deal with China and passage of a new North American trade agreement. Both those events took place after the January survey was completed.

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