October surveys show rising confidence, workforce challenges
Consumer and business confidence improved in Nebraska during October, according to the latest monthly surveys from the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Results from the Survey of Nebraska Households indicate that consumer confidence rose to 108.3 in October, bouncing back from a subpar level of 97 during September. October confidence is well above the neutral level of 100.
Business confidence also improved during October, rising to 117.3, according to the results of the Survey of Nebraska Business. Business confidence stood at 110.6 in September.
“Rising consumer and business confidence are encouraging signs for the Nebraska economy,” said Eric Thompson, an economist and bureau director. “It will be interesting to see if strong confidence is maintained in the coming months.”
The surveys also gathered information about the top issues faced by businesses and households. For the first time, concerns about workforce were the top business issue. Specifically, 29 percent of respondents to the October Survey of Nebraska Business reported that the availability and quality of labor was the top business issue, followed by 27 percent listing customer demand and 15 percent listing competition from other businesses.
“In a stronger economy, businesses grow increasingly concerned about securing an adequate workforce,” Thompson said.
The top concerns for households were paying off debt and the cost of health care.
The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses and households. During October, 155 businesses responded to the Survey of Nebraska Business, for a response rate of 31 percent. There were 121 responses to the Survey of Nebraska Households, for a response rate of 24 percent.