March 31, 2023

Nebraska's leading economic indicator rises slightly in February

State economy expected to avoid recession in next six months

Black "now hiring" sign contrasted against blue sky


Nebraska’s leading economic indicator increased slightly in February, 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 0.05%.

“The modest increase in the leading indicator suggests that the economy will continue to grow slowly, keeping the state economy out of recession over the next six months,” said economist Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research, department chair and K.H. Nelson Professor of Economics.

The six components of Nebraska’s leading economic 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 February leading economic indicator report

Half of the components improved during February. Manufacturing hours increased, and business expectations improved.

“There has been sustained growth in Nebraska manufacturing during the current economic recovery,” Thompson said. “Respondents to the February Survey of Nebraska Business reported plans to increase sales and employment over the next six months.”

Other indicator components worsened. Notably, there was a decline in building permits for single-family homes on a seasonally adjusted basis.

“Rising interest rates have slowed activity in the housing sector,” Thompson said.

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