OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — More than half of bankers surveyed in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states are projecting a drop in holiday retail sales this year from last year as the coronavirus pandemic worsens across the country.
The Rural Mainstreet Survey’s overall index fell to 46.8 in November from October’s 53.2. It’s the first time since April that the index has fallen, but it remains well ahead of the 35.5 reading in March, when the index bottomed out as the outbreak began.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says the index for Iowa sank to 47.4 from October’s 52.3. Iowa’s farmland-price index rose to 53.4 from 50.6 in October. Iowa’s new-hiring index for November inched lower to 54.0 from 54.9 in October. Compared to the same month last year, Iowa’s Rural Mainstreet economy has lost 6.4% of its nonfarm employment representing 43,000 jobs.
Any score below 50 suggests a shrinking economy, while a score above 50 suggests a growing economy.
Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.