Consumer, business confidence solid before COVID-19 concerns
Consumer and business confidence remained solid in Nebraska during February, according to the latest monthly survey from the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Business confidence stood at 111.1 in February, far above the neutral level of 100 and similar to the reading of 110.2 in January.
Consumer confidence stood at 107.9 in February, also well above the neutral level. Consumer confidence fell from an elevated level of 115.8 in January.
“While the confidence readings are encouraging, it is important to remember that most surveys were received in early or mid-February,” said Eric Thompson, an economist who serves as bureau director. “If growing concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus will impact Nebraska confidence, that will not be reflected until March survey results.”
The cost of health care was a top concern for February respondents to the Survey of Nebraska Households. One in five households indicated that the cost of health care or health insurance was their top concern. Nebraska businesses were most concerned about customer demand, the quality and availability of labor and the cost of business inputs. The share of businesses concerned about the costs of insurance, utilities, inventory or space was 11%, much higher than in most months.
The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses and households. During February, 131 businesses responded to the Survey of Nebraska Business, for a response rate of 26%. There were 125 responses to the Survey of Nebraska Households, for a response rate of 25%.