Factors far from the farm continue to impact the rural economy, according to a Creighton University economist.

“We’ve got Brexit, that’s the exit of Great Britain from the E.U. that’s still hovering over the global economy,” said Ernie Goss. “It’s all about global factors, that’s trade. We’ve got not just the war with China. We’ve got USMCA. That’s the new NAFTA.”

Goss isn’t sure Congress is going to get to move on any of what it can control, which is the USMCA ratification.

“Congress says they can walk and chew gum at the same time,” said Goss. “I might challenge that. Of course, they’ve got the impeachment proceedings and nothing else seems to be getting done, at least from an economic standpoint. We need to see that trade agreement approved and moved on. Right now, it seems to be stalled.”

It’s too soon to tell if there will be any movement on China, either, but Goss believes the Fed will do what it can.

“I just don’t see anything coming out in terms of the trade agreements right now,” said Goss. “Now, we do see something that we can comment with a little more certainty. That’s that there will be a rate cut by the Federal Reserve at the end of the month. That’s on October the 30th. That’s going to be somewhat helpful.”

Forty-three percent of the bankers surveyed in October for Creighton’s Rural Mainstreet Index told Goss they need something other than a rate cut to help. The overall index was up to to 51.4 from 50.1 in September. Fifty is growth neutral.