Consumer confidence declined in Nebraska during January while Nebraska businesses were optimistic about expanding employment and sales, according to the January Survey of Nebraska Households and the January Survey of Nebraska Business, both of which are conducted by the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Results of the January Survey of Nebraska Households was used to calculate the Consumer Confidence Index – Nebraska. The index stood at 84.7 in January 2016, down from 89.0 in December 2015.
“The drop may reflect a decline in optimism in the month after the Christmas Holiday and the sharp drop in stock market valuations during January,” said UNL economist Eric Thompson, the Bureau’s director.
In terms of specific concerns, households report concerns about adequate savings, paying off debt, health care costs, and a rising cost of living.
By contrast, businesses owners and managers were optimistic about growth in sales and employment. According to the January Survey of Nebraska Business, 38 percent of business owners and managers expect higher sales over the next 6 months versus just 19 percent who expect lower sales.
Likewise, 18 percent of business owners and managers expect to expand employment over the next 6 months versus just 5 percent who expect to reduce it. “Business anticipate solid growth in the Nebraska economy during the first 6 months of 2016,” according to Thompson.
Customer demand is the most common business concern, cited by 42 percent of respondents. The quality and availability of labor was cited by 18 percent of respondents. The latter results suggests that the Nebraska economy continues to face difficulties with a skills gap, and more generally, a sufficient workforce to fill some open positions.
The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses and households. In January, 141 businesses responded to the Survey of Nebraska Business, for a response rate of 28 percent. There were 133 respondents to the Survey of Nebraska Households, for a response rate of 27 percent.