A gap re-emerged between business and consumer confidence in Nebraska during September, according to the latest monthly surveys conducted by the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
While businesses remained optimistic about the economy during the next six months, consumer confidence dropped steeply compared with July and August levels.
Nebraska’s consumer confidence index, based on a monthly survey of Nebraska households, fell to 87.9 in September. The value is well below the neutral level of 100 and indicates weak consumer confidence. In comparison, the index registered at 97.4 in August and 97.5 in July, the highest levels of the year.
“The summer improvement in consumer confidence has proven to be temporary,” said Eric Thompson, an economist and the bureau director. “Consumer confidence in September fell back to levels seen in February through May 2016.”
Business expectations, by contrast, remained a source of strength for the state economy. The monthly Survey of Nebraska Businesses showed optimism about both sales and employment during September, with 31 percent of businesses anticipating sales increases over the next six months and 13 percent of businesses expecting to add jobs. In comparison, 19 percent predicted their sales would decline and 3 percent said they would reduce employment.
“Business survey results indicate that there will be growth in both sales and employment in Nebraska for the rest of 2016 and during the first quarter of 2017,” Thompson said.
The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses and households. During September, 125 businesses responded to the Survey of Nebraska Business, for a response rate of 25 percent. There were 137 respondents to the Survey of Nebraska Households, for a response rate of 27 percent.
For more information, the full survey report is available on the Bureau of Business Research website here.