OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new monthly survey of bankers in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states suggests continued economic growth in the region, even as nonfarm jobs in most of those states remained below pre-pandemic levels.
The overall Rural Mainstreet economic index dropped to 65.6 in July from June’s 70.0. Any score above 50 suggests growth. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says federal labor statistics show nonfarm jobs across the region came in at 55,000 fewer jobs than before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
But three states — Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota — reported nonfarm employment levels above pre-pandemic levels. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.