April survey results at a glance:
· Leading economic indicator rises but remains in slow growth range.
· Hiring gauge drops below growth neutral.
· Approximately 29.1 percent of firms report shortages of qualified applicants for open positions.
· Inflation reading still indicating only modest wholesale price growth.
· Supply managers expect prices of goods and services sold by their firm to expand by a very modest 1.6 percent over the next year.
Rural Mainstreet Economy Slows:
Some Bankers Reported Negative Impacts from Bird Flu
May Survey Results at a Glance:
* The Rural Mainstreet Index improved, but remained below growth neutral for May signaling slight pullbacks in economic activity.
* Farmland prices declined for the 18th straight month, but with wide variations across the region.
* Almost one in five bankers reported negative fallout from the avian flu outbreak.
* Agriculture equipment-sales index dropped to a record low level.
* Bankers identified rising regulatory costs as the top economic challenge to bank profitability for the next five years..