June surveys show strong consumer, business confidence

June surveys show strong consumer, business confidence

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Consumer confidence rose sharply while business confidence remained strong in Nebraska during June, according to the latest monthly surveys from the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The monthly Survey of Nebraska Households showed that the state's consumer confidence index rose to 104.7 in June from a value of 100.4 in May. The June value is well above the neutral level of 100.0, indicating that Nebraska consumers are confident. Nearly half of the respondents cited cost concerns – such as cost of living, health care costs, taxes and other major expenses – as the top financial issue they face. In particular, nearly one-quarter of respondents chose health care and health insurance costs.

"The June results are a significant improvement over May," said Eric Thompson, an economist and the bureau's director. "Consumers can now be characterized as optimistic."

The monthly Survey of Nebraska Business indicated that Nebraska's business confidence index fell slightly from a value of 110.2 in May to a value of 109.2 in June.

"Nebraska businesses remained very confident about prospects for both sales and employment during June," Thompson said. "Business confidence has been strong throughout the first half of 2017."

However, during June there was an elevated level of concern about customer demand among businesses in two key industries: agriculture and health care. Agricultural producers face low commodity prices while health care providers face poor reimbursement rates.

The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses and households. During June, 157 businesses responded to the Survey of Nebraska Business, for a response rate of 31 percent. There were 131 respondents to the Survey of Nebraska Households, for a response rate of 26 percent.

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