Nebraska’s economy saw slight improvements during August for the second month in a row, according to the latest survey of business leaders and supply managers across the state. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the state’s economy is growing, but very gradually.
Goss says the state’s job growth is still showing little-to-no growth, and it may even be falling into negative numbers, so “the economy’s expanding but with no new jobs to speak of.” While Nebraska is seeing some optimistic signs in employment, he says they’re relatively poor compared to a year ago.
Some of the state’s industries, like housing and trucking, aren’t doing well, while rail is doing fairly well, Goss says, adding, “Overall, the Nebraska economy is expanding but at a very slow pace.” He expects Nebraska’s economy to continue growing, but he notes weakness will show up in an unemployment rate that will likely tick upward by the end of the year before it stabilizes.
He says some of the numbers are seasonal but much of it is due to energy prices which are still significantly above last year, effecting agricultural businesses and those with close ties to agriculture. As for the Midwest, Goss says the regional economy has begun to mirror the national economy with weak, but positive, growth in addition to job losses. While the inflation gauge was down for the month, he says “it is still telegraphing excessive inflation in the pipeline.”