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May 25, 2022

Another Rise in Nebraska’s Leading Economic Indicator

Growth to Continue Despite Macroeconomic Challenges Facing the U.S. Economy
May 25, 2022: Another Rise in Nebraska’s Leading Economic Indicator
The Nebraska Leading Economic Indicator expanded by 1.86% in April, suggesting the Nebraska economy will continue to improve this year.

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Nebraska’s leading economic indicator rose in April, 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 1.85%.

“The April increase is the third consecutive improvement, suggesting that the Nebraska economy will continue to expand through the fourth quarter of 2022,” said economist Eric Thompson, K.H. Nelson College Professor, professor of economics and director of the Bureau of Business Research. “The resilience of the Nebraska economy is notable given concerns about inflation and rising interest rates.”

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 three primary reasons, including a sharp increase in airline passenger counts during April.

“Airline activity is recovering towards pre-pandemic levels,” said Thompson.

There also was a decline in initial claims for unemployment insurance during April.

“Very low unemployment rates imply opportunities for Nebraska workers, but are challenging for the business community,” Thompson said. Many respondents to the April Survey of Nebraska Business reported that finding workers is the biggest challenge faced by their business.

Yet, survey respondents were confident about the future, reporting plans to expand both sales and employment over the next six months.

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