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May Surveys: Business Growth Amid Reluctant Consumers

Consumer confidence slipped in Nebraska during May, even as business expectations remained positive, according to the latest monthly surveys conducted by the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 
Nebraska’s Consumer Confidence Index fell to 89.3 in May, down modestly from an April value of 92.2. Both values are well below the neutral baseline value of 100. The Consumer Confidence Index – Nebraska is estimated based on responses to the Survey of Nebraska Households.
Most important issues facing each business, May 2016
Most important issues facing each business, May 2016
By contrast, business expectations remained positive during May, with 34 percent of businesses expecting sales to grow over the next six months, compared to 14 percent who think sales will decline. Businesses also remain positive about job growth.  
 “Nebraska businesses appear to have adapted to a reluctant consumer, planning for growth during an extended period of weak consumer confidence,” said bureau director Eric Thompson, a UNL economist.
Thompson added that strong business expectations continue to suggest the economy will strengthen later in the year. 
“Expectations for sales and employment reported in the March, April and May surveys are consistent with strong economic growth in Nebraska during the second half of 2016,” Thompson said. 
The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses and households. In May, 143 businesses responded to the Survey of Nebraska Business, for a response rate of 29 percent. There were 136 respondents to the Survey of Nebraska Households, for a response rate of 27 percent. 
Published: June 3, 2016