Each month, community bank presidents and CEOs in nonurban, agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the 10-state area are surveyed regarding current economic conditions in their communities and their projected economic outlooks six months down the road. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are included.

This survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural, agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It gives the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy.

Colorado: For the 14th straight month, Colorado’s RMI remained above growth neutral, but declined in February to a still solid 54.7 from January’s 72.7. The FPI sank to 67.8 from 78.9 in January. Colorado’s NHI for February was 51.0, down from January’s 65.8. Year-over-year job growth: urban, 0.5%; rural mainstreet, 4.7%.   

Illinois: Illinois’ RMI remained above growth neutral for the 22nd straight month, though the February RMI sank to 53.9 from January’s 61.1. Farmland prices remained significantly above growth neutral with a reading of 80.1, up from 77.7 in January. The state’s NHI dipped to 50.5 from January’s 55.5. Year-over-year job growth: urban, 0.4%; rural mainstreet, 2.9%.   

Iowa: Iowa’s February RMI advanced to 57.9 from 57.3 in January. FPI dipped to 68.1 from January’s 68.2. Iowa’s NHI for February slipped to 51.2 from 51.4 in January. Larry Winum, president of Glenwood State Bank in Glenwood, said, “Loan demand and housing activity remain extremely slow.” Year-over-year job growth: urban, 0.5%; rural mainstreet, 1.3%.   

Kansas: The Kansas RMI advanced to 55.5 from 52.6 in January. FPI climbed to 68.6 from 62.6 in January, while the state’s NHI grew to 51.5 from 47.9 in January. However, Dale Bradley, CEO of the Citizens State Bank in Miltonvale, argued, “High oil prices do not bode well for a struggling U.S. economy.” Year-over-year job growth: urban, 1%; rural mainstreet, 0.8%.   

Minnesota: The February RMI rose to 56.2 from 49.9 in January. Minnesota’s FPI bounced to 69.3 from January 57.8, and its NHI rose to 52.0 from January’s 45.5. Year-over-year job growth: urban, 1%; rural mainstreet, 0.9%.   

Missouri: The RMI for Missouri jumped to 54.3 from January’s weak 47.8. February FPI advanced to 67.3 from January’s 52.2, while Missouri’s NHI inched higher to 50.7 from 50.6 in January. Year-over-year job growth: urban, 0.6%; rural mainstreet, -3.9%.    

Nebraska: The February RMI for Nebraska rose to 61.7 from 58.8 in January. FPI jumped to 79.2 from 73.5 in January, and NHI advanced to 55.6 from 53.4 in January. Year-over-year job growth: urban, 1.7%; rural mainstreet, 0.8%.   

North Dakota: The North Dakota RMI for February declined to a still strong 67.0 from January’s regional high 87.2. FPI advanced to 80.1 from January’s 74.2, while NHI slipped to 59.2 from January’s 78.7. Year-over-year job growth: urban, 2.9%; rural mainstreet, 10.3%.   

South Dakota: The February RMI for South Dakota grew to 57.1 from 51.2 in January, with FPI bouncing to 70.2 from January’s 60.1, and NHI advancing to 52.6 from 46.7 in January. Year-over-year job growth: urban, 1.3%; rural mainstreet, 1.7%.   

Wyoming: The February RMI for Wyoming jumped to a regional high of 72.5 from January’s 59.0. February FPI bounced to 85.6 from 73.9 in January, while NHI advanced to 59.0 from January’s 53.6. Year-over-year job growth: urban, 3.5%; rural mainstreet, 1.7%.