Nebraska businesses remain optimistic in their outlook for both sales and employment over the next six months, according to a monthly survey conducted by the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
More than one in three businesses responding to the June Survey of Nebraska Business expected sales to increase over the next six months, compared to just 16 percent who predicted a decline in sales.
However, the outlook for more jobs, while still optimistic, has softened a bit since May. In June, 14 percent of respondents expected to add employees in the next six months, while 7 percent expected to reduce employment. Last month, 23 percent of respondents said they expected to increase employees, and 5 percent said they would reduce employment.
Eric Thompson, the bureau’s director, said the consistently optimistic responses throughout 2015 are a good sign for Nebraska’s economy.
“Nebraska business have been optimistic about both sales and employment throughout 2015,” the UNL economist said. “This suggests strong growth in the Nebraska economy during the second half of the year.”
Reflecting the strength of Nebraska’s labor market, labor availability has been among the top business concerns throughout the year, Thompson noted. Customer demand was the most common business concern, cited by 37 percent of respondents. The quality and availability of labor was cited second most often, chosen by 19 percent of respondents.
The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses. In June, 173 businesses responded, for a response rate of 35 percent. Thompson combined May and June 2015 responses to analyze economic trends by region.
“Businesses in the Omaha area were especially optimistic,” Thompson said, while businesses in western Nebraska were only slightly optimistic and businesses in northeast Nebraska were neutral. The outlook of businesses in southeast and central Nebraska were optimistic, with roughly the same level of optimism as the state overall.
For more information, the full survey report is available on the Bureau of Business Research website, http://www.bbr.unl.edu.