OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of rural bankers in parts of 10 Plains and Western states shows they're rapidly losing confidence in the region's farm economy.
The Rural Mainstreet survey for May, released Thursday, shows the survey's overall index dropping from 50 in April to 48.5 this month. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, blames trade tensions and tariffs, saying they're contributing to losses suffered by grain farmers — although livestock producers are faring better. Still, Goss says, bankers believe "the negatives far outweighed the positives."
The survey's confidence index, which gauges bankers' expectations for the economy six months out, plummeted from 50 to 38.2 — its lowest level in almost two years.
Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.