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Nebraska Businesses Optimistic About Economy

For the sixth straight month, Nebraska businesses reported a positive outlook for the state economy, according to the July business outlook survey conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Bureau of Business Research.

However, businesses aren’t quite as optimistic as they were a month ago. Statewide, 29 percent of businesses responding to the survey said they expect sales to increase during the next six months while 6 percent said they expected to cut jobs during the same time period.  

In June, 33 percent reported they expected sales to increase and only 3 percent said they expected to reduce employment.

Eric Thompson, a UNL economist and director of the Bureau of Business Research, said the survey results remain encouraging.

“While businesses were somewhat less optimistic than in June, July results still mark the sixth consecutive month in which businesses reported a positive outlook,” he said.

Analyzing responses for each of three geographic areas, Thompson found businesses in Lincoln and southeast Nebraska were significantly more optimistic than other regions about sales and employment in coming months.  Omaha-area businesses had expectations similar to the state as a whole, while optimism was lower among central Nebraska businesses.

During the past six months of positive expectations, a growing share of businesses have cited labor availability, competition with other businesses and improved business practices as their top concerns.  

A smaller share cite public policy issues, including government regulation, health care costs and taxes,  as their top concerns.

The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses, including agricultural businesses. In July, 114 businesses responded, for a response rate of 23 percent.  Thompson combined June and July responses to create a sample of sufficient size to analyze regional trends.

Read the Survey of Nebraska Business
Published: August 1, 2014