Nebraska's Leading Economic Indicator signals slower growth ahead

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Nebraska’s Leading Economic Indicator signals slower growth ahead

Eric Thompson, director of UNL's Bureau of Business Research
Eric Thompson

Nebraska’s Leading Economic Indicator fell by 0.45 percent in September, marking the second decline in three months.

“The decline in the Leading Economic Indicator suggests weaker growth for the Nebraska economy during the first quarter of 2015,” said UNL economist Eric Thompson, director of UNL’s Bureau of Business Research. “The Nebraska economy is growing solidly at the moment, but economic momentum will slow around the turn of the year.”

One key reason for the decline in the Leading Economic Indicator was a sharp increase in the value of the U.S. dollar during September. “A rising dollar impacts the competitiveness of export businesses, both in Nebraska and around the country,” Thompson said.

Business expectations also moderated in September. After months of strong business expectations, respondents to the September Survey of Nebraska Business reported only limited expectations for growth.

Other components of the Leading Economic Indicator changed little during September. There was a modest increase in single-family building permits, after seasonal adjustment. Manufacturing hours remained unchanged and airline passenger counts declined slightly.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose in September on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

The indicator is a composite of six components to predict economic growth six months into the future. It is produced by faculty and students in the Department of Economics 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,

An audio/video version of the report with Thompson is available at

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