March surveys: Strong business and consumer confidence in Nebraska

March surveys: Strong business and consumer confidence in Nebraska

Consumer confidence was strong in Nebraska during March, while business confidence remained very strong, 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 Nebraska's consumer confidence index rose to 100.5 in March from a value of 94.6 in February. It was the first time the index has risen above the neutral level of 100 since the Bureau of Business Research began conducting the survey in late 2015. The results indicate that survey respondents with positive expectations for the economy slightly outnumbered those with a negative outlook.

"The improvement in consumer confidence follows continued improvement in Nebraska's job market," said Eric Thompson, an economist who is bureau director. He added, however, that more time is needed to see if the March results signal an emerging trend. Nearly half of the respondents cited cost concerns – cost of living, health care costs, taxes or other major expenses – as the top financial issue they face.

The monthly Survey of Nebraska Business indicated that the state's business confidence index fell to 108.2 in March from a value of 109.1 in February. Both values are well above the neutral level of 100.

"Nebraska business confidence is holding at a high level," Thompson said.

Participating businesses indicated that customer demand was their top concern.

The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected businesses and households. During March, 136 businesses responded to the Survey of Nebraska Business, for a response rate of 27 percent. There were 138 respondents to the Survey of Nebraska Households, for a response rate of 28 percent.

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