Manufacturing, business expectations key to rising leading indicator

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Manufacturing, business expectations key to rising leading indicator

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Nebraska’s leading economic indicator rose again during March, according to the most recent report from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

The leading indicator, a composite of economic factors that predict economic growth six months into the future, rose by 1.21 percent. The March rise was the sixth-consecutive monthly increase.

“Consistent increases in the leading indicator suggest steady growth in the Nebraska economy at least through the fall of 2019,” said economist Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research at the university.

Manufacturing activity, initial claims for unemployment insurance and business expectations were the primary reason for the jump in the Nebraska indicator. Hours-worked rose in the manufacturing industry during March, while initial claims for unemployment insurance declined. Further, respondents to the March Survey of Nebraska Business reported plans to increase both sales and employment over the next six months.

“Other components of the indicator, such as building permits for single-family homes and airport passenger enplanements, were little changed during March,” Thompson said. “However, the value of the U.S. dollar increased during the month. A higher U.S. dollar is challenging for manufacturers and other businesses that export.”

The leading economic indicator report is produced monthly by faculty and students in the Bureau of Business Research in Nebraska’s College of Business.

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