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December Survey: Mixed Outlook in Nebraska

Nebraska businesses remain optimistic about the employment outlook but have a mixed outlook for sales, according to the latest monthly survey conducted by the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 
The December survey showed 13 percent of responding businesses expect to increase employment over the next six months, while just 2 percent expect to reduce it.  
Most important issues facing each business, December 2015
Most important issues facing each business, December 2015
The outlook for sales, however, is mixed. Nearly half of respondents expect no change in sales while 26 percent of respondents expect sales to increase over the next six months and the same percent expect sales to fall. 
While the sales outlook is mixed, business expectations on the whole remained positive during December. “The outlook in December, while weaker than in November, continues to suggest that the Nebraska economy will grow at a solid pace during the 2nd quarter of 2016,” said UNL economist Eric Thompson, the Bureau’s director.  
Customer demand is the most common business concern, cited by 39 percent of respondents.  Regulation by the federal and state government was the top concern of 13 percent of respondents while the availability and quality of labor was chosen by 11 percent. 
The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses. In December, 128 businesses responded, for a response rate of 26 percent. Thompson combined November and December 2015 responses to analyze economic trends by region.
“Survey responses show greater optimism in urban Nebraska,” according to Thompson. Omaha is the most optimistic region, closely followed by the Southeast and Central Nebraska regions. The outlook is modestly positive in Northeast Nebraska and mixed in West Nebraska. 
Published: January 8, 2016