August surveys show cost concerns, fading consumer confidence

August surveys show cost concerns, fading consumer confidence

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Consumer and business confidence diverged in Nebraska during August, according to the latest monthly surveys from the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Business confidence rose to 110.4 in August from 106.4 in July, according to the results of the monthly Survey of Nebraska Business. At the same time, consumer confidence fell from 101.9 in July to 100.2 in August.

“While business confidence remains strong, consumer confidence is best described as neutral,” said Eric Thompson, an economist and bureau director. “Concerns about cost of living are one reason for fading consumer confidence, despite a solid job market in Nebraska.”

The surveys also gathered information about the top issues faced by households and businesses. Roughly one in two Nebraska households chose a cost factor as their top issue.

“Many households were concerned about health-care costs, as well as the general cost of living, including rent, utilities, insurance, education and food,” Thompson said. “Businesses also reported cost-related concerns. Twenty-four percent chose the availability of labor as their top business concern, while 12 percent chose the cost of goods and services. Concerns about business costs have been rising in recent months.”

The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses and households. During August, 152 businesses responded to the Survey of Nebraska Business, for a response rate of 30 percent. There were 125 responses to the Survey of Nebraska Households, for a response rate of 25 percent.

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