December surveys show optimistic businesses, cautious consumers

December surveys show optimistic businesses, cautious consumers

Eric Thompson (second from right), associate professor of economics, works with student research assistants in the College of Business Administration’s Bureau of Business Research. The bureau is designed to assist with Nebraska’s economic development efforts.
Craig Chandler | University Communication
Eric Thompson (second from right), associate professor of economics, works with student research assistants in the College of Business Administration’s Bureau of Business Research. The bureau is designed to assist with Nebraska’s economic development efforts.

Businesses' outlook on the state's economy was strong during December, while consumer confidence was weak, according to the latest monthly surveys from the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

"Businesses were optimistic about both sales and employment growth over the next six months," said Eric Thompson, an economist and the bureau's director.

Thirty-one percent of respondents to the monthly Survey of Nebraska Businesses expect sales to increase over the next six months while just 18 percent expect sales to fall. For employment, 15 percent of respondents expect to add employment versus just 3 percent who expect to reduce it.

Consumer confidence, however, remained weak during December.

The monthly Survey of Nebraska Households showed that Nebraska's consumer confidence index rose to 88.2 in December from a value of 86.0 in November. While the index improved, its reading below the neutral level of 100 indicates weak consumer confidence.

"Consumer confidence remained weak during December," Thompson said. "More robust economic growth may be required for business optimism to spread to households."

The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses and households. During December, 98 businesses responded to the Survey of Nebraska Business, for a response rate of 20 percent. There were 115 respondents to the Survey of Nebraska Households, for a response rate of 23 percent.

For more information, the full survey report is available on the Bureau of Business Research website here.