Economic conditions seem to be improving in Nebraska, but consumers are only cautiously optimistic if they are optimistic at all.
The director of the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Eric Thompson, says the bureau’s latest survey discloses a split between business owners and consumers.
“We’re continuing to see a pattern where businesses have strong confidence, but consumers continue to have weak confidence,” Thompson tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
The Bureau of Business Research sends 500 surveys to randomly selected Nebraska businesses and households. In January, 139 businesses and 127 consumers responded.
Thompson says it might not be that hard to understand why consumers are hesitant to embrace a robust view of the state economy.
“That may reflect the poor wage growth we’ve had in the economy over the last 15 years or so, where consumers just aren’t seeing the income growth they need to feel confident,” Thompson says. “We’ll have to see if that changes in the coming year.”
Even with consumers lagging behind businesses, confidence overall improved in January.
“It was very robust in terms of businesses, with expectations for both sales and employment to increase over the next six months,” according to Thompson. “On the consumer side, the consumers were a bit more optimistic about the future than they were about current conditions.”
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this story.