Nebraska businesses were optimistic about the outlook for employment over the next six months but only modestly optimistic about sales, according to a monthly survey conducted by the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Among respondents to the September Survey, 27 percent expected sales to increase over the next six months, compared to 24 percent who predicted a decline in sales. The share of respondents expecting a decline in sales is significantly higher than in recent months.
Twelve percent of respondents expected to add employees in the next six months, compared to 5 percent who expected to reduce employment. This employment outlook is similar to recent months.
“Nebraska business grew less optimistic about sales in September” said UNL economist Eric Thompson, the bureau’s director. “If this trend continues in subsequent months, it would indicate growing concerns about the strength of the state economy.”
Customer demand was the most common business concern, cited by 30 percent of respondents. The quality and availability of labor was cited second most often, chosen by 19 percent of respondents. Fifteen percent of respondents chose government regulation as their top business concern. These responses are roughly in line with recent months.
The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses. In September, 114 businesses responded, for a response rate of 23 percent. Thompson combined August and September 2015 responses to analyze economic trends by region.
“Northeast Nebraska was the region with the most positive outlook for sales and employment, followed by the Omaha region,” Thompson said. The outlook was slightly positive in Southeast Nebraska and West Nebraska. The outlook was neutral in Central Nebraska, with a negative sales outlook and a positive employment outlook.