November 10, 2014

October survey: Nebraska businesses turn optimistic again

Eric Thompson
Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo
Eric Thompson

After an uncertain September, Nebraska businesses regained their optimistic outlook in October, according to the latest survey by the Bureau of Business Research.

Respondents to the October Survey of Nebraska Business were optimistic in their expectations for both sales and employment growth, said bureau director Eric Thompson, a UNL economist and director of the bureau.

“The result confirms that the Nebraska economy should grow in 2015, but the pace of growth remains in question,” Thompson said. “We will need to see if future monthly surveys yield mixed results, as in September, or strong results, as in October.”

In October, 30 percent of businesses responding statewide said they expect sales to increase during the next six months, outweighing the 18 percent who predict declining sales. Most predicted employment will remain steady, though 11 percent anticipated adding jobs and 7 percent expected to reduce employment.

Customer demand was the most common business concern, cited by 31 percent of respondents. Nearly one in six responding businesses indicated availability and quality of labor was their top concern, an issue that has grown throughout the year as the labor market continued to strengthen.

The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses. In October, 152 businesses responded, for a response rate of 30 percent. August and September responses were combined to analyze regional economic trends.

Business expectations were most positive in Omaha and least positive in northeast and western Nebraska.

“Labor supply issues are a growing concern in Lincoln and other parts of southeast Nebraska as well as in central Nebraska,” Thompson said. Taxes were a top concern for western Nebraska businesses.

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