Drought slows rural economy in 10 central states

The economy in rural areas of 10 Midwestern and Western states continued to look weak this month as the region begins a slow recovery from this summer’s oppressive drought, according to The Rural Mainstreet Index, an economic survey of rural bankers by Creighton University in Omaha. The economic index for this month is 48.3, up slightly from August, but still in negative-growth territory. The index ranges from 0 to 100, with 50 being growth-neutral.

“The drought continues to dampen economic activity for businesses linked to agriculture such as ethanol, and agriculture-equipment seller,” Creighton economist Ernie Goss told the Nebraska City News Press. “I expect food processors to take a hit later in the year as higher food prices work their way through the system.” The index examines rural economies in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, the Dakotas and Wyoming. (Read more)

Article written by Ivy Brashear for The Rural Blog.  Al Cross, former Courier-Journal political writer, is director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and The Rural Blog.

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