HUTCHINSON, Kan. — For a third straight month, the overall Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) sank below growth neutral, according to the November survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.
"We asked about looking forward for the next six months and the confidence index dropped to its lowest level since we began the survey in 2006," said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss. "That was not a good reading. Hopefully, the economy is better than what the bank CEOs expect."
Goss has changed his position on whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise rates again.
"I projected a rate hike not more than a month ago," Goss said. "Now, I'm on the side of no rate hike. I won't say they are done, it's too early to say that, but it looks like there is a potential for a rate cut, but that's not going to come anytime soon. That would be no earlier than 2024. I don't expect that."
If you're looking at your portfolio and still feeling okay, Goss urges caution.
"The stock market's doing great, but the stock market is not the economy," Goss said. "By the way, the stock market is also being driven up by a few stocks. Most of the stocks in the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500 are not doing that well."
Goss still believes that the federal government is spending as if it is in wartime in a peacetime economy, and he's not sure how long that can last.