A recent report based on a January survey of bankers in 11 Plains states shows that a farm equipment index increased.
According to Creighton University's Rural Mainstreet Index for January, farm equipment sales went up from 40.4 in December to 47.2. A score of 50 on the scale is counted as growth neutral.
However, the index also showed that the overall rural economy is still seeing some tough times. The Mainstreet Index did post a slight gain, increasing from 40.9 to 41. Ernie Goss, an economist at the university, said that the index has remained growth neutral for 23 months in a row.
"The uncertainty surrounding legislative changes coming from Washington combined with economic weakness among main street businesses linked to the farm sector appear to be weighing on the rural, agriculturally dependent economy," Goss said.
Though hiring in the index remained below growth neutral, it did increase from its level in December. That portion of the index rose from 33.4 to 40.1
According to the government, the unemployment rate remained steady at 10 percent for December. However, many analysts predict it will stay at that level or go up during 2010.