(Credit: The Center Square) — North Dakota’s economic outlook improved in June, according to Creighton University’s newly released index.
The Rural Mainstreet Index covers 10 regional states focusing on nearly 200 rural communities for a real-time analysis of the rural economy, according to Creighton University. It surveys community bank presidents and CEOs to get a pulse on economic conditions.
North Dakota was among five of the 10 states that saw growth, according to the index. The state’s RMI grew to 56.8 in June, up from 54.8 in May.
The index ranges from 0 to 100, with 50 representing growth neutral.
North Dakota’s farmland-price index, which monitors prices of crops and livestock, increased from 54.8 to 57.9 in June. Likewise, the state’s new-hiring index grew to 64.3. That’s up from 62.5 in May.
North Dakota saw 10.9% growth in its state exports of agriculture and livestock in 2022, the index found. Overall, it exported $891 million of agriculture and livestock, with 51.3% of those exports going to Canada.
In general, June’s rural economic outlook saw expansion, climbing out of the dip below growth neutral reported in March. June’s RMI was the highest seen since May 2022.
“After negative growth during the first quarter of this year, the Rural Mainstreet economy experienced positive, but slow, economic growth for all of the second quarter. Only 3.4% of bankers reported a downturn in economic conditions for the month,” said Ernie Goss, Ph.D., Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.
The most significant anticipated challenge for the next 12 months is Federal Reserve rate hikes, bank CEOs reported. More than half surveyed said higher interest rates were dampening farm equipment purchases as farm equipment sales are on the decline for only the third time in the past 31 months, according to the survey.
Five of the 10 states evaluated saw declines in their RMI’s: Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska. However, only Missouri was below growth neutral. The other four states that saw declines in their RMI scores still remained above growth neutral.
States like North Dakota that saw their RMI scores go up included Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, and Wyoming, according to the index.