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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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February 17, 2012

New Leading Economic Indicator Report Looks Good for Nebraska

The initial release of the Leading Economic Indicator report for Nebraska, produced by faculty and students in the Department of Economics and Bureau of Business Research at the UNL College of Business Administration, is a positive one for the Cornhusker state.

The Leading Economic Indicator for Nebraska increased by 0.51 percent in January, indicating that the state’s economy will grow at a moderate rate in mid-2012. This marks the second consecutive monthly increase in the Indicator.

Leading Economic Indicator Graph - Nebraska

Leading Economic Indicator - Nebraska

The Leading Economic Indicator for Nebraska is a composite of six components that predict future economic growth: single-family housing starts, airline passengers, initial unemployment claims, manufacturing hours, the value of the U.S. dollar and business expectations gathered from the Survey of Nebraska Business.

“Multiple components contributed to the rise in the Indicator in January,” said UNL economist Dr. Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research. Rising airline passengers, improving business expectations and a falling U.S. dollar in January all contributed to growth, he said.

Two other components, building permits and manufacturing hours, changed little between December and January. Only trends in initial unemployment claims suggested slower growth. Initial unemployment claims rose on a seasonally adjusted basis between December and January.

Thompson said that growth in the Leading Economic Indicator in January suggests the Nebraska economy will accelerate later in 2012.

“Leading indicator data from late 2011 signaled that economic growth would be weak in Nebraska during the February-through-April period, but indicator values for December and January suggest that sustained growth will return in May of this year,” Thompson said.

The report was completed by team members (pictured above l to r), Adam George, Eric Ransom, Thompson, and Dr. William Walstad.

Subsequent releases of the Leading Economic Indicator for Nebraska will occur on the third Friday of every month.