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April 20, 2022

Nebraska’s Leading Economic Indicator Continues to Rise

Growth to Continue Over the Next Six Months
April 20, 2022: Nebraska’s Leading Economic Indicator Continues to Rise
The Nebraska Leading Economic Indicator increased in March by 0.89%, suggesting solid economic growth expected in Nebraska over the next six months.

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Nebraska’s leading economic indicator rose again in March, according to the most recent report from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Designed to predict economic activity six months into the future, the leading indicator expanded by 0.89%.

“The March rise in the indicator is the fifth increase in the last six months, suggesting solid economic growth in Nebraska over the next six months,” said economist Eric Thompson, department chair, K.H. Nelson College Professor of Economics and director of Bureau of Business Research.

The six components of Nebraska’s Leading Economic Indicator include business expectations, building permits for single-family homes, airline passenger counts, initial claims for unemployment insurance, the value of the U.S. dollar and manufacturing hours worked.

The leading indicator improved for two primary reasons. First, there was another decline in initial claims for unemployment insurance during March, suggesting continued strength in the state labor market.

Second, businesses were confident. Respondents to the March Survey of Nebraska Business reported plans to increase sales and employment over the next six months.

“Confident Nebraska businesses continue to expand employment, despite challenges in finding workers,” according to Thompson.

One area of concern is building permits for single-family homes, as permits declined during March.

“Rising interest rates will reduce demand for housing in the coming months,” said Thompson.

The full report and a technical report describing the indicators are available at the Bureau of Business Research website, https://bbr.unl.edu.