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August 7, 2020

Modest Expectations for the Nebraska Economy

Modest Expectations for the Nebraska Economy
Nebraska business confidence was mixed in July, according to the latest monthly survey from the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Business Confidence Index – Nebraska had a value of 83.3 in July, which is well below the neutral level of 100.

The aggregate index value, however, reflects a significant difference between recent conditions and expectations about the next 6 months. The recent conditions sub-index, which reflects the change in sales and employment during recent months, was 63.5, or far below the neutral level. The expectations sub-index, however, was above the neutral level, at 103.1.

“Business expectations were somewhat positive in July,” said Eric Thompson, an economist who serves as Bureau director. “A few more businesses reported plans to increase sales and employment than reported plans to decrease them.”

Customer demand is the primary concern for Nebraska businesses. Thirty-three percent of business respondents mentioned the COVID-19 Pandemic as their top business concern, primarily due to its impact on customer demand. Another 32 percent of businesses focused on customer demand without specifically mentioning COVID-19. “Stronger customer demand may be required to support a rapid economic recovery,” according to Thompson.

The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses. During July, 100 businesses responded to the Survey of Nebraska Business, for a response rate of 20 percent.