Business, Consumer Confidence rise in Nebraska

July 16, 2018, 2:09 a.m. ·

Business confidence rose sharply in Nebraska after falling for consecutive months, according to a June survey from the Bureau of Business Research.

Business confidence rose to 115.4 in June, a 13-point-increase from May. The results are a summation of four questions sent in a survey to 500 random businesses and households each month. The results are compared to a neutral value of 100.

Consumer confidence also saw a slight rise from the previous month, rising from 101.3 to 103.9.

Eric Thompson, the director of the Bureau of Business Research, defines business confidence as a company’s willingness to employ and invest due to strong sales.

“I think the big news is that it shows that business confidence is holding up,” he said. “In June we saw it rebound to its March level, which suggests that business confidence may be returning to the strong levels we saw at the beginning of the year”

He said business confidence has been relatively stable over the past year-and-a-half, despite the occasional dip.

“It’s been pretty robust despite current economic issues and any dips down from a level of 110-115 seem to be short-lived and we get back up to those elevated levels.”

Thompson says he is confident in the state’s economic growth following the latest survey results.

“Despite some of the problems Nebraska has faced, in terms of crop prices being disappointing, live stock prices being disappointing, worries about a trade war, business communities may still be preceding with a high level of confidence, which should be a good thing for our state’s economic growth,” Thompson said.

Thompson said businesses willing to invest will play an integral part in keeping the state’s business confidence level from dropping again.

“The results of the survey suggest that consumer spending will be solid and contribute to economic growth but competent businesses, businesses willing to invest, is going to be an important part of that”

While the state has seen stable levels of business confidence for a long period of time, external issues such as low agricultural prices or worries about a trade war could play a major role in the level of business confidence.

“The worry in Nebraska with weak prices for agricultural commodities with concerns of the future with trade disputes there are concerns that business confidence could start to wane,” Thompson said. “If that happens, we’re going to lose one of our engines of economic growth.”