State Economists Predict Modest Economic Growth Over Next 6 Months

Jan. 8, 2020, 1:30 p.m. ·

The Leading Economic Indicator report is released monthly. (Credit: Bureau of Business Research, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

The Nebraska economy is expected to grow moderately over the next six months, according to a report from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln released Wednesday.

The monthly report from UNL’s Bureau of Business Research shows the leading economic indicator rose 0.7% in November — just above the threshold to be considered moderate growth.

Bureau of Business Research Director Eric Thompson says this report represents a bit of a split economy:

"Investment, and to some extent goods production, has been weak in recent months," Thompson said. "But the other part of the economy driven by consumer spending has been stronger. So consumers are spending more on services and things like dining out, apparel and other retail purchases. But they've been a little more reserved in their spending on new houses, and maybe big ticket items."

Nebraska businesses say they plan to increase sales and hire more people over the next six months. But building permits for single-family homes fell sharply in November.

Since the report is based on data from more than a month ago, it doesn’t reflect any potential impact from the recent tension between the United States and Iran.

But Thompson says he doesn’t expect that to have much of an impact on the economy because the U.S. isn’t as reliant on foreign oil exports now.

"Events in the Middle East will continue to impact oil prices, but I don't think as severely as in the past," he said.

The United States is now the world’s leading oil producer, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

An earlier report from the Bureau of Business Research predicts slow economic growth for the state over the next three years.