Nebraska's leading indicator declines during December
Growth in the Nebraska economy will be solid rather than strong during the first half of 2016, according to the latest leading economic indicator report from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The indicator, a composite of six economic factors that predict growth six months into the future, fell slightly, by 0.12 percent, in December.
The decline in the index followed strong increases during October and November.
"After strong growth in the leading indicator during October and November, the small decline in December dampens expectations for growth," said Eric Thompson, an economist and director of the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The leading indicator declined in December due to another strong increase in the value of the U.S. dollar, which hampers export-based businesses.
"The rising dollar creates further challenges for Nebraska's agriculture and manufacturing industries," Thompson said.
Other components of the leading indicator declined modestly in December. There was a decline in airline passenger counts and manufacturing hours during the month and a slight decrease in building permits for single-family homes.
Business expectations, however, were positive during December. Respondents to the Survey of Nebraska Business predicted growth in employment at their businesses over the next six months.
The leading economic indicator report is produced monthly by faculty and students in the economics department and the Bureau of Business Research in UNL's College of Business Administration.
The full report and a technical report describing the indicators are available at the UNL Bureau of Business Research website.