Latest UNL Monthly Report Predicts Slow Economic Growth Ahead


     The University of Nebraska Lincoln Bureau of Business Research’s latest monthly economic report shows the state’s leading economic indicator rose half a point  in September.

      Bureau Director and UNL Economics Department Chair Dr Eric Thompson says the “modest increase suggests slow economic growth in Nebraska during the first quarter of 2024.” 

      The report’s leading economic indicator is made up of 6 components: business expectations, building permits for single-family homes, airline passengers, initial unemployment claims, the value of the dollar, and manufacturing hours worked. 

      Two components improved last month: manufacturing hours and business expectations.

     Thompson says the Nebraska manufacturing sector is focused on ag equipment and food processing, so it benefited from high food prices and a strong farm economy, 

       Continued strength in the state’s key industries is keeping businesses confident about their prospects, with a number of respondents to the September survey reporting plans to increase sales and employment over the next six months. 

      On the other hand, the number of building permits for single-family homes fell in September. Thompson blames interest rates for mortgages that were already high and continued to rise.

    The full report and a technical report describing the indicators are available at the Bureau of Business Research website