RMI declines as growth slows
The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) declined to 55.3 in February from 59.3 the prior month. But the economic indicator, which was based on a survey of bank CEOs in a 10-state region including Iowa, is much higher than a reading of 36.6 in February 2010. A reading of 50 is considered to be growth neutral. “An expanding global economy, a cheap dollar and alternative energy production are pushing the Rural Mainstreet economy into territory not experienced since the early 1970s,” said Ernie Goss, an economist with Creighton University in Omaha. February’s survey showed that farmland prices continue to rise, and sales of farm equipment are strong, though the pace of growth is slowing. The RMI for Iowa declined to 57.2 in February from 61.8 the prior month.