OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Strong growth continues in rural areas of 10 Plains and Western states and three states now have more jobs than before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a monthly banker survey released Thursday.
Rural Mainstreet’s overall economic index slipped in June to 70 from a record 78.8 in May, but remained in positive territory. 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, said the number of non-farm jobs in the region remains 2% lower than it was before the pandemic began, but three states – Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska – reported higher employment levels than they previously were. the virus appeared last year.
The region’s hiring index remained high at 71.7 in June, although it was slightly lower than the May reading of 72.7.
Goss said the region continues to benefit from growing exports, high grain prices and still low interest rates.
Bankers generally remain optimistic about the economy over the next six months. The confidence index also remained strong at 71.7 in June, although it was down from 78.8 in May.
More than three-quarters of bankers said they believe the Federal Reserve should start raising interest rates before the end of this year.
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