Nebraska’s leading economic indicator rose in January, according to the most recent report from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The indicator, designed to predict economic activity six months into the future, increased 1.29%.
“The leading indicator has been mixed in recent months, declining in some months but rising in others,” said economist Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research, department chair and K.H. Nelson Professor of Economics. “This pattern suggests slow growth in the state economy during the first half of 2023.”
The six components of the indicator are business expectations, building permits for single-family homes, airline passenger counts, initial claims for unemployment insurance, the value of the U.S. dollar and manufacturing hours worked.
Most components of the leading indicator improved during January.
Manufacturing hours worked expanded.
“There has been sustained growth in Nebraska manufacturing, given its ties to food markets and agriculture,” Thompson said.
The value of the U.S. dollar also declined in January for the third consecutive month.
“A declining dollar improves the position of manufacturers, agricultural producers and other Nebraska businesses that compete in international markets,” Thompson said.
Given areas of strength in the state economy, initial claims for unemployment insurance fell in Nebraska during the month.
Airline passenger counts and building permits for single-family homes also grew in January.
“These improvements, however, primarily reflect a rebound from a weak December rather than a sustained expansion,” Thompson said.