Businesses’ outlook on the state economy dimmed during October, while consumer confidence strengthened, according to the latest monthly surveys from the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Both sectors moderated outlooks compared to September, when consumers reported a steep drop in confidence and businesses were optimistic about sales and employment growth.
“Businesses’ optimism waned during October while the consumer outlook improved,” said Eric Thompson, an economist who serves as bureau director.
Consumer confidence, however, remained weak overall and the business outlook was only slightly positive.
The monthly Survey of Nebraska Businesses showed a neutral outlook for sales, with 24 percent of responding businesses anticipating higher sales during the next six months and an equal percentage predicting a decline. The outlook for jobs was slightly positive, with 10 percent expecting to increase employment and 7 percent predicting a reduction.
The monthly Survey of Nebraska Households showed that Nebraska’s consumer confidence index rose to 94.0 in October. Though the index improved from its 87.9 level in September, its reading below the neutral level of 100 indicates weak consumer confidence.
“There was a significant rebound in consumer confidence during October,” Thompson said. “It will be interesting to monitor whether consumer confidence continues to improve over the next few months.”
The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses and households. During October, 146 businesses responded to the Survey of Nebraska Business, for a response rate of 29 percent. There were 124 respondents to the Survey of Nebraska Households, for a response rate of 25 percent.
For more information, the full survey report is available on the Bureau of Business Research website here.