University Survey Indicates Healthy Economy, but Restricting Growth for Rural Nebraska

Sept. 20, 2021, 11:52 a.m. ·

Ernie Goss of Creighton University in a building with a staircase behind him.
Creighton Professor Ernie Goss is the head of the university's economic forecasting group. (Photo courtesy of Creighton University).

A survey of bankers from 10 Midwestern states shows a healthy rural economy, but slowing growth for the region.

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index was down in Nebraska and the Midwest region this month, but remained above what’s considered growth neutral. Nebraska’s index fell from just under 70, to slightly above 65.

Creighton University Professor Ernie Goss leads the survey and said a labor shortage is restraining growth in most states, but not Nebraska.

“What we’re seeing in Nebraska is a very strong labor economy,” he said. “In other words, we’ve seen, actually, the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, and that’s true in the rural areas.”

Nebraska’s rural nonfarm employment expanded by 4.5%, in the last 12 months.

For the region in general, commodity prices are helping rural economies, according to Goss. He said supply disruptions are hindering growth in the Midwest.

Additionally, the farmland prices index reached a record high for the month.