Nebraska’s leading economic indicator drops 1.31% in March

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Nebraska’s leading economic indicator drops 1.31% in March

Rapid economic growth still expected in mid-2024
A welder in a mask throws sparks.

Nebraska’s leading economic indicator saw a decline during March, according to the most recent report from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The indictor, designed to predict economic activity six months into the future, fell 1.31% after a nearly 4% increase during February.

“Taken together, the two monthly reports suggest that there will be rapid economic growth in Nebraska during mid-2024,” said economist Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research, department chair and K.H. Nelson College Professor of Economics.

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. Two of the six components fell in March after a strong increase in February.

Nebraska Bureau of Business Research Leading Economic Indicator – April 2024
Video: Eric Thompson discusses the March leading economic indicator report

“Nebraska manufacturing hours worked moderated in March after a very sharp increase the month prior,” Thompson said. “The Nebraska manufacturing industry continues to benefit from strong demand for food products and general improvements in the national manufacturing industry. Building permits for single-family homes also abated in March after a strong February increase. High interest rates create a challenge for homebuilders, but new home sales continue to be supported by a limited supply of existing homes on the market.”

On the positive side, business expectations remained strong in March. Respondents to the March Survey of Nebraska Business reported plans to increase sales and employment over the next six months.

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

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