Business and consumer confidence in Nebraska reversed course during October.
The latest Consumer Confidence Index-Nebraska shows an increase last month compared to September.
But UNL Bureau of Business Research director Eric Thompson says the indicator is still low.
“I think, as wages have improved over the last year or so, consumer confidence has improved. However, it’s improved from very weak levels and, still, you couldn’t call it strong,” Thompson tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “The key thing is to see if wages continue to grow over the next year or so, will we get strong consumer confidence in our state.”
At the same time, Nebraska businesses are scaling back their optimism for the next six months.
The October survey shows sales are expected to be neutral.
Thompson says the outlook for hiring during the next six months will be minimal.
“Businesses were positive about the economy over the next six months, but only slightly positive. Not really expecting any increase in sales and just a small increase in employment,” he says.
Ten percent of Nebraska businesses that responded in October report plans to increase hiring into next year. Seven percent expect to cut jobs.
Thompson says businesses are expressing concerns about the agricultural commodity prices.
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this story.