After moving below growth neutral in February, the Rural Mainstreet economy has moved above the 50.0 threshold for four straight months, according to the June survey of bank CEOs in a 10-state area. However, the index was down from May signaling slower growth.

Banking: The June loan-volume index slipped to a still robust 74.6 from 75.4 in May. The checking-deposit index declined to 50.9 from May’s 54.8, while the index for certificates of deposit and other savings instruments dipped to 39.4 from 40.3 last month.

Hiring: Rural Mainstreet businesses continue to hire at a solid pace, though the June hiring index declined slightly to 63.2 from May’s very healthy 64.0. “Currently the Rural Mainstreet economy is adding jobs at a pace well above the long-term average and significantly above the rate of growth in urban areas of the region,” said Goss.

Confidence: The confidence index, which reflects expectations for the economy six months out, advanced to 55.5 from last month’s 51.6. “Despite international tensions and rising oil prices, higher agriculture commodity prices, especially for beef and pork, pushed the outlook higher for the month,” said Goss.

Home and retail sales: The June home-sales index climbed to 66.1 from 63.9 in May. The June retail-sales index increased only slightly to 51.8 from 51.7 in May. “Improving weather encouraged an upturn in home purchases.  However, retail sales are down from this time last year,” said Goss.

See Farm and Ranchland-index here