Bankers survey projects drop in holiday retail sales

National News

FILE – In this Sept. 15, 2020, file photo, people examine a storefront window as they walk in Boston’s fashionable Newbury Street shopping district. Defying fears of another slowdown, U.S. businesses kept hiring at a solid pace in October yet there are signs they remain cautious about the economy’s future as the pandemic worsens. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — More than half of bankers surveyed in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states are projecting a drop in holiday retail sales this year from last year as the coronavirus pandemic worsens across the country.

The Rural Mainstreet Survey’s overall index fell to 46.8 in November from October’s 53.2. It’s the first time since April that the index has fallen, but it remains well ahead of the 35.5 reading in March, when the index bottomed out as the outbreak began.

Any score below 50 suggests a shrinking economy, while a score above 50 suggests a growing economy.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

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