OMAHA, Neb. (Oct. 20, 2022) — The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) fell for the sixth time in the past seven months, sinking below growth neutral for a fifth consecutive month, according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.      

Overall: The region’s overall reading for October once again sank below growth neutral to 44.2 from 46.3 in September. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral. This was the fifth consecutive month the overall reading has fallen below growth neutral.

“The Rural Mainstreet economy is now experiencing a downturn in economic activity. Almost one in four bankers, or 23.1%, reported that the economy was already in a recession. Approximately, three of four bankers expect a recession to begin in 2023,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

October 2022 Survey Results at a Glance:

  • The overall index fell below growth neutral for the fifth straight month.
  • Farm equipment sales dropped for the second time in the past three months.
  • Economic confidence index plummeted to its lowest level since May 2020.
  • On average, bank CEOs expect 2022 Christmas and holiday buying to expand by less than 1%, or 0.8%, from last year.
  • Almost one-fourth of bankers reported that their local economy was currently in a recession.
  • Approximately three of four bankers expect a recession to begin in 2023.
  • Bank CEOs project 2022 farm equity to be 3.4% above 2021 levels. This compares to the USDA’s 4.2% estimate for the nation’s farmers.