The latest Mid-America Business Conditions Index for nine states, including Nebraska, is up to its highest level in three years. Creighton University economist Dr. Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says despite less than ideal weather conditions over the winter months, the region surveyed as a whole showed signs of growth.
“We’re coming off some really tough weather, not just in the nine state surveyed, but we saw what happened nationally in quarter one,” according to Goss. “Now we’re seeing our numbers looking better for the U.S., our regional number was up–the highest in three years.”
The business conditions index climbed to 60.5 in May, while the employment index moved to a 60.0 from a 54.2 in April, suggesting more companies are looking to hire in the months ahead. Goss cautions however that some employers are still holding back on hiring.
“Employers are being very cautious about new hiring and of course, are getting more and more output out of the same or fewer employees, ” Goss notes. “But we’ll see that growing ahead, even in manufacturing. Perhaps, we won’t move to pre-recession levels until at least 2015, but it’s still up.”
The survey suggested 41.3 percent of employers are looking to hire in the months ahead. May is the fifth straight month the economic index has been above a growth-neutral number of 50.0 in Nebraska, with the state earning a 55.6.