The latest survey of bankers in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states showed an improved rural economy this month, but the ongoing trade disputes continue weighing on the economy.
The Rural Mainstreet survey's overall index climbed to 51.4 for October from 50.1 in September. 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, says federal crop support payments and higher grain prices helped boost October's index, but noted that nearly three-quarters of bankers "reported continuing negative impacts from the trade war."
The confidence index, which reflects bankers' economic expectations six months out, slumped to a dismal 36.5 from September's already low 42.9.
Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.