A dip in the state leading economic indicator could forecast a slowing of the Nebraska economy.
The indicator tracked by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bureau of Business Research declined by 0.13% percent in September.
Bureau Director Eric Thompson points out it’s the first decline in six months.
“But it is a decline and I think it suggests that while our economy should be strong throughout the rest of this year, but if you get six months down the road, say the first quarter of 2016, I think our growth is going to slow down a little bit and state economic growth will be more modest at the beginning of next year,” Thompson tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
Thompson places the blame for the drop on the rise of the dollar, which has made Nebraska manufactured and agricultural goods more expensive overseas, reducing exports.
Thompson cautions against making too much of the dip.
“If you look at the recent history of the indicator, I think it still suggests the economy is growing, but perhaps it will grow a little more slowly at the beginning of next year,” Thompson says.
The September Survey of Nebraska Business indicates a drop in manufacturing hours last month combined with a rise in unemployment insurance claims. The strong dollar also hampered Nebraska agricultural imports.
Still, business expectations for employment growth remain positive, building permits for single-family homes rose, and there was an increase in airline passenger counts.
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this report.