Following two months of solid growth, Nebraska’s Leading Economic Indicator was essentially flat in February, edging upward by just 0.01 percent.
Combining February’s report with the stronger results seen in December and January, economist Eric Thompson said Nebraskans can expect economic improvement later in the year.
“Recent values for the Leading Economic Indicator-Nebraska suggest that the state’s economy will grow solidly in mid-2015,” said Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research at UNL.
The six components of the Leading Economic Indicator showed areas of strength and weakness in the economy. Business expectations were an area of strength, with respondents to the Survey of Nebraska Business predicting increased employment and sales over the next six months.
At the same time, there are mounting challenges for export-oriented business in Nebraska.
“For the seventh consecutive month, there was a sharp increase in the value of the U.S. dollar during February,” Thompson said. “Sharp increases in the value of the U.S. dollar impact the competitiveness of manufacturers, agricultural producers and other businesses which export.”
February airline passenger counts dropped, after adjusting for seasonal factors. Other components – single-family building permits, initial unemployment claims and manufacturing hours – changed little during the month.
The monthly indicator is produced by faculty and students in the Economics Department and the Bureau of Business Research in UNL’s College of Business Administration.
The full Nebraska Monthly Economic Indicators report and a Technical Report describing the indicators are available at the UNL Bureau of Business Research website, http://www.bbr.unl.edu.