April 26, 2023

Nebraska's leading economic indicator rises in March

Sparks fly as a worker in protective gear uses a grinder on metal.


Nebraska’s leading economic indicator increased in March, according to the most recent report from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The indicator, designed to predict economic activity six months into the future, rose 1.24%.

“The increase in the leading indicator suggests the economy will grow over the second and third quarters of 2023,” said economist Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research, department chair and K.H. Nelson Professor of Economics.

The six components of the indicator are business expectations, building permits for single-family homes, airline passenger counts, initial claims for unemployment insurance, the value of the U.S. dollar and manufacturing hours worked.

Video: Eric Thompson discusses the March leading economic indicator report

There was a drop in initial claims for unemployment insurance in March.

“The decrease in initial claims in Nebraska contrasts with rising claims nationwide and suggests that Nebraska businesses are more likely to retain their current workforce over the next six months,” Thompson said.

Business expectations were positive, and manufacturing hours worked also rose.

“Respondents to the March survey reported plans to increase both sales and employment over the next six months.” Thompson said. “A thriving agricultural economy and food processing sector supports growth in the Nebraska manufacturing industry.”

Read the full report and a technical report describing the indicators.