A Creighton University economist says the recession’s over for Nebraska and for the Midwest and things are clearly picking up. After studying the results of the latest monthly survey of business leaders in Nebraska and eight other states, Ernie Goss says it’s the eighth consecutive month Nebraska’s seen solid economic growth.
“Almost every factor was looking very good for the month of April,” Goss says. “I think we can say pretty definitively that this regional economy is out of the recession and moving forward. Most everything looks good. There were a few negatives underneath the surface, but all in all, it was a very good report.”
Goss says one of those negative factors was the “prices paid” index, which he says is rising far too rapidly. “Supply managers are telling us that the prices paid for raw materials and supplies and other factors are just heading higher, much higher,” Goss says. “When we asked them to look ahead, 33-percent of the supply managers are expecting prices to grow by more than five-percent in the next six months.”
Goss says the Federal Reserve Board is “sitting on its hands” and not acting to curb rising inflation rates with an increase in interest rates to compensate.
Goss says the April survey contained promising news about employment, both for Nebraska and the Midwest region. “For quarter one, we saw job growth in almost every one of the nine states,” Goss says. “I expect second quarter to be even better for job growth. Of course, this is contrary to what most economists are expecting and it’s actually contrary to what I expected three or four months ago.”
In the first quarter, Goss says Nebraska’s unemployment rate rose slightly even as the state added more than 15-hundred jobs. For the second quarter, based on surveys over the past several months, he expects the state’s unemployment rate to be unchanged with job gains exceeding three-thousand. Goss adds, Nebraska’s large durable-goods manufacturers and transportation firms will be job leaders for the second quarter.