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March 6, 2020

Confidence Solid before Growing Virus Concerns

Confidence Solid before Growing Virus Concerns
Consumer confidence stood at 107.9 in February, far above the neutral level of 100. Consumer confidence fell from the elevated level of 115.8 in January.
Consumer and business confidence remained solid in Nebraska during February, according to the latest monthly survey from the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Business confidence stood at 111.1 in February, which is far above the neutral level and similar to the reading of 110.2 in January.

Consumer confidence stood at 107.9 in February, also far above the neutral level of 100. Consumer confidence fell from the elevated level of 115.8 observed in January

“While the confidence readings are encouraging, it is important to remember that most surveys were received in early or mid-February” said Eric Thompson, an economist who serves as Bureau director. “If growing concerns about the Covid 19 Virus will impact Nebraska confidence, that will not be reflected until March survey results.”

The cost of health care, however, was a top concern for February respondents to the Survey of Nebraska Households. One in five households indicated that the cost of health care or health care insurance was their top concern.

Nebraska businesses were most concerned about customer demand, the quality and availability of labor, and the cost of business inputs. The share of businesses concerned about the costs of insurance, utilities, inventory or space was 11 percent, much higher than in most months.

The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses and households. During February, 131 businesses responded to the Survey of Nebraska Business, for a response rate of 26 percent. There were 125 responses to the Survey of Nebraska Households, for a response rate of 25 percent.