April 23, 2014

State economy remains strong, though slower

The state economy remains strong, though its growth has slowed a bit.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bureau of Business Research Director Eric Thompson reports its latest Economic Indicator shows an increase of just 0.9% in September.

“One good piece of news is that this month’s very small increase followed two months of solid improvement in the indicator in July and August,” Thompson tells Nebraska Radio Affiliate KLIN. “So, I think if you take the three months together, it suggests that the Nebraska economy growth will improve around the end of the year.”

Thompson says the indicator’s results were very mixed. He cites a solid increase in single-family building permits during the month, but manufacturing hours, airline passenger counts and business expectations declined. There was also a slight uptick in unemployment claims.

Earlier today, the Nebraska Department of Labor reported the state unemployment rate fell last month from 4% in August to 3.9% in September.

Thompson does expect growth to pick back up soon.

“We’re in a bit of a rough patch with the Nebraska economy right now,” according to Thompson. “We would expect that would last for another month or two, but the leading indicator which is supposed to make predictions six months ahead suggests that by December and certainly January, February our economy should be growing again at a moderate pace.”

Aside from the improvement in the housing industry, state exports could show signs of improvement due to the decline in the strength of the dollar.

Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this report.