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Strong Business Expectations and a Rising Leading Economic Indicator

Nebraska’s Leading Economic Indicator, designed to predict economic growth six months into the future, rose by 0.87 percent in December.
“The improvement in the leading indicator suggests that economic growth will accelerate in Nebraska during mid-2015,” said economist Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Produced by faculty and students in the Economics Department and Bureau of Business Research at UNL’s College of Business Administration, the index is a composite of six components.
During December, five of six components improved. “Business expectations were particularly robust during the month,” according to Thompson. Respondents to the monthly Survey of Nebraska Business predicted strong growth in sales and employment. 
There also was a sharp drop in initial claims for unemployment insurance. This reflects strength in the labor market. Other components of LEI-N rose modestly including single family building permits, airline passenger counts and manufacturing hours.
There also was a rapid increase in the value of the U.S. dollar during December. A rising U.S. dollar creates a challenging environment for Nebraska’s export businesses. December was the fifth consecutive month that the value of the dollar rose sharply.

Leading Economic Indicator Graph - Nebraska

January Leading Economic Indicator - Nebraska Report

Published: January 16, 2015