Nebraska business expectations, labor market fuel economic growth

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Nebraska business expectations, labor market fuel economic growth

 Eric Thompson (second from right), associate professor of economics, works with student research assistants in the College of Business Administration’s Bureau of Business Research. The bureau is designed to assist with Nebraska’s economic development efforts.
File photo | University Communications

Nebraska’s leading economic indicator rose for the fifth consecutive month in August, increasing by 0.31 percent.

The increase suggests that the Nebraska economy will expand through the first quarter of 2016.

“The August increase resulted from positive business expectations and strong labor market conditions,” said economist Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Respondents to an August survey of Nebraska businesses were positive about growth in sales and employment at their businesses over the next six months, he said. Initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped sharply, indicating strength in the labor market.

However, other components of the indicator were less encouraging. The value of the U.S. dollar increased sharply, hampering Nebraska exports. Manufacturing hours and airline travel dipped slightly. Building permits for single-family homes also dropped.

“Ongoing increases in the value of the dollar are harming growth in agriculture and manufacturing businesses,” Thompson said.

The leading economic indicator report, a composite of six indicators of economic growth, is produced monthly by faculty and students in the Economics Department and the Bureau of Business Research in UNL’s College of Business Administration.

The full report and a technical report describing the indicators are available at the UNL Bureau of Business Research website,

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