Nebraska businesses expect stability, sales growth in coming months

· 2 min read

Nebraska businesses expect stability, sales growth in coming months

Eric Thompson, director of UNL's Bureau of Business Research
Eric Thompson

Continuing the trend of the previous three months, most Nebraska businesses report a positive outlook for the next six months, according to the latest survey conducted by the UNL’s Bureau of Business Research.

Respondents from the Omaha area, in particular, had a positive outlook.

More than 80 percent of businesses that responded to the May Survey of Nebraska Business said they expect sales to hold steady or grow through late 2014.

However, the outlook for job growth was somewhat less optimistic than earlier in the year. Just 7 percent of businesses expected to increase employment over the next 6 months, although only 4 percent expected to reduce employment. Last month, 10 percent of businesses said they expected to add jobs.

“Respondents were positive in their outlook for sales at their own businesses and somewhat positive for employment,” said Eric Thompson, a UNL economist and director of the Bureau of Business Research. “Respondents from the Omaha metropolitan area were particularly positive about the outlook for sales.”

The Survey of Nebraska Business is sent to 500 randomly selected businesses of all sizes each month. For May’s survey, 77 businesses responded, for a 15 percent response rate.

Statewide, 29 percent of businesses predicted sales to increase during the next six months and 53 percent predicted them to remain the same. Meanwhile, 17 percent predicted sales to decline.

Customer demand was the most frequently cited concern by Nebraska businesses though concerns about costs also were common. Of businesses statewide, 30 percent listed customer demand among the most important issues they face while 20 percent named the cost of goods and services. Statewide, government regulations were the biggest policy concern, cited by 12 percent of respondents. Another 11 percent cited the costs of health care and the Affordable Care Act.

Thompson combined responses from Omaha businesses in April and May to create a sample size sufficient for analysis. These two-month results were compared with combined data from April and May for Nebraska statewide.

Though the Omaha area was “much more positive” in its outlook for sales compared to the state as a whole, it had a similar employment outlook, Thompson said. Top concerns for Omaha-area businesses focused more on customer demand and health care costs than businesses statewide.

The full survey report is available on the Bureau of Business Research website.

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