Economic indicator jumps for second straight month

Economic indicator jumps for second straight month

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

Nebraska's economic growth will improve significantly during the second half of 2017, according to the latest leading economic indicator report from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The indicator, a composite of economic factors that predict economic growth six months into the future, rose by 2.08 percent in February after rising by a revised 1.76 percent during January.

"The rapid increase in the indicator over the last two months is a very positive sign for Nebraska economic growth," said economist Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research at the university.

Businesses reported a very positive outlook during February. Respondents to the February Survey of Nebraska Business were optimistic about increasing sales and employment over the next six months.

"Business expectations have been very strong the last three months," Thompson said.

In a positive sign for the Nebraska labor market, initial claims for unemployment insurance also fell again during February, the second straight decline.

In a departure from recent trends, the value of the U.S. dollar fell during February.

"A declining U.S. dollar improves the competiveness of Nebraska's exporting businesses, especially in agriculture and manufacturing," Thompson said.

The leading economic indicator report is produced monthly by faculty and students in the Bureau of Business Research in Nebraska's College of Business Administration.

The full report and a technical report describing the indicators are available at the Bureau of Business Research website here.

UNL Bureau of Business Research Leading Economic Indicator Nebraska – March 2017
[VIDEO]: Eric Thompson discusses the February leading economic indicator report