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Economic Outlook

Recent Survey Results

Mid-America Manufacturing Weak:
Higher Inflation and Fewer New Hires

March 2024 Survey Highlights:

• For the fourth straight month, the overall, or Business Conditions Index, hovered around growth neutral. 
• The region’s manufacturing sector lost jobs for a third straight month. 
• The wholesale price climbed to its highest level in more than a year. 
• Over the past 12 months, the number of job openings for each unemployed worker was 2.1.  This is down from 2.5 recorded 12 months earlier.
• Approximately 68% of supply managers expect a 2024 economic recession.

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Rural Mainstreet Economy in Negative Territory for Sixth Straight Month
44% of Bankers Reported Worsening Farm Finances

February 2024 Survey Results at a Glance:

• For a sixth straight month, the overall Rural Mainstreet Index sank below growth neutral.
• Almost three-fourths of bank CEOs named low farm commodity prices as the biggest risk for farms in 2024.
• More than four of 10 bankers named falling farm commodity prices as the biggest risk for community banks in 2024.
• Approximately 44% of bankers indicated that the financial positions of farmers in their area had weakened over the past six months.
• Farmland prices expanded for the 51st straight month. 
• The farm equipment sales index slumped below growth neutral for the eighth time in the past nine months. 
 

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