Creighton University’s Rural Mainstreet Index for Iowa rose to 52.5 in November from 49.6 the month before. 

In specific Iowa measures:
— The farmland index was unchanged at 39.7.
— The new hiring index was 57.1, up from 52.1. 
— Job growth in rural areas was 0.2%, compared with 0.9% in urban areas. 

The overall index for the 10-state region was above growth-neutral for the fourth time in the past five months. The index is based on a monthly survey of bank CEOs.

The index rose to 54.2 from 51.4 in October. That was the highest reading this year. 

“Federal agriculture crop support payments and somewhat higher grain prices have boosted the Rural Mainstreet Index slightly above growth neutral for the month. Given a continued weak rural economy, bank CEOs, on average, expect holiday buying to increase by only 1.3% above last year’s levels,” Creighton economist Ernie Goss said in a statement.