Nebraska’s leading economic indicator rises 1% in December

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Nebraska’s leading economic indicator rises 1% in December

Moderate growth expected in first half of 2024
Passengers on an airplane

Nebraska’s leading economic indicator rose in December, 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%.

“The increase in the leading indicator suggests that the Nebraska economy will grow at a moderate pace in the first half of 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.

Nebraska Bureau of Business Research Leading Economic Indicator – January 2024
Video: Eric Thompson discusses December leading economic indicator report

Three components improved significantly during December. Airline passenger counts rose during the month.

“An increase in leisure travel implies that households feel confident about their jobs and income, while an increase in business travel suggests that firms are coordinating new activity with customers and suppliers,” Thompson said.

Business expectations were also positive.

Nebraska businesses reported plans to increase sales and employment over the next six months, Thompson said.

The value of the U.S. dollar also fell in December, which is advantageous for Nebraska businesses that compete in international markets.

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

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