The economies in Nebraska and the Midwest remained strong during the just-ended month of June, according to a survey of business leaders across the nine states in the region. Ernie Goss, an economist at Creighton University, says the first half of 2010 saw many indicators of a solid recovery, though he’s less confident about the rest of the year.
“Growth that I expect for the next six months is not going to be as good as what we’ve just seen the past six months, but it’s still positive,” Goss says. “The real problem point for the economy is the uncertainty that we’re seeing, the uncertainty about tax increases, uncertainty about cap and trade, uncertainty about what’s going to happen in terms of health care reform.”
He says the Creighton survey shows Nebraska’s economy expanding for the tenth straight month, while the leading economic indicator for the Midwest dipped slightly but is still in positive territory.
“It was a good report, probably a lot better than what I expected,” Goss says. “I think it’s going to show up as a lot better than what a lot of people expected.” A major report on the nation’s employment rate is expected today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Goss predicts it won’t be an encouraging report. He’s projecting national unemployment to rise, perhaps as high as ten-percent. Goss says even many of the people who have jobs aren’t optimistic about their salaries.
Goss says, “That’s part of the troubling picture, that all workers are seeing their pay prospects not very good in the months ahead, not very good in the next year and that’s particularly the case for government workers.” Goss says one element that will elevate jobless numbers is the letting go of thousands of U-S Census Bureau workers, a move that was expected as the head counts conclude but which will still spark a rise in unemployment figures.
“While manufacturing employment growth has leveled off for now, durable and nondurable producers in Nebraska report solid increases in business activity,” Goss says. “Most of the recent job growth has been in value-added services. However, I do expect recent upturns in hours worked to translate into increases in manufacturing hiring.”