OMAHA, Neb. — A monthly survey of bankers shows that the economy is slowly improving in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says that while commodity prices have improved recently, they remain below breakeven for a large share of grain farmers.
The overall Rural Mainstreet index slipped slightly to 56.3 in May, up from 53.5 in April. It's the highest level since July 2013. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy in the months ahead, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.
Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.
More than one-third of bank CEOs identified rising regulatory costs as the top economic challenge to their operations over the next five years.