Bankers in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states are showing more enthusiasm for the state of their local economies than they have since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to a new monthly survey of bankers in the region.
The Rural Mainstreet Survey’s overall index surged to 53.2 in October, up from 46.9 in September and well ahead of the 35.5 reading in March, when the index bottomed out as the outbreak began. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 suggests a shrinking economy.
Ernie Goss, an economist at Creighton University in Omaha, credited recent improvements in agriculture commodity prices, federal farm support and the Federal Reserve’s record low interest rates.
“Still, more than one-third, or 35.5%, of bank CEOs reported their local economies were experiencing recessionary economic conditions,” said Goss, who oversees the survey.
Bankers were also asked this month to identify the industry in their area most harmed by the pandemic. More than 8 of 10 named restaurants and bars as enduring the greatest harm.
Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.
Videos: Life in Nebraska amid the pandemic
Nebraskans have shown a wealth of emotions while facing the coronavirus pandemic. We have unleashed a wave of creativity to adapt in the world of social distancing.
Watch a few bright moments our staff has collected while telling the story of this unprecedented period in history.
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Nebraska churches have been adapting to social distancing regulations by having online services from buildings void of parishioners.
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