Business expectations moderated in February, according to the latest monthly survey from the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
The expectations component of the Business Confidence Index-Nebraska fell from a value of 119.3 in January to 111.7 in February.
“Moderate expectations suggest that businesses are planning for economic growth in Nebraska over the next six months, but not the rapid growth implied by January expectations,” said Eric Thompson, an economist who serves as bureau director.
With lower expectations, the overall business confidence index fell below the neutral level of 100 in February, to 97.1. The overall index also includes the recent conditions sub-index, which reflects the change in sales and employment during recent months.
“With the exception of January, the overall business confidence index has been below the neutral level of 100 for every month since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Thompson said.
Twenty-eight percent of business respondents mentioned the pandemic as their top business concern. Another 23% focused on customer demand without specifically mentioning COVID-19. Supply issues also were a factor. Ten percent of responding businesses indicated that the cost of goods and services was their top concern, while another 10% chose the quality and availability of labor.
The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses. During February, 103 businesses responded to the Survey of Nebraska Business, for a response rate of 21%.