“These results suggest that at least in terms of confidence, businesses and the public, the outlook is quite strong for the Nebraska economy,” according to bureau director Eric Thompson.
Nearly half of the respondents cited cost concerns like cost of living, health care costs, taxes and other major expenses.
“So far, the actual economic data has been a little weaker,” he says. “We’ll have to see going forward. This is an indicator things should be improving and hopefully, these expectations of businesses and households will come together with stronger economic data.”
Thompson says Nebraska businesses were more concerned in June about customer demand in agriculture and health care. He says agricultural producers face low commodity prices while health care providers face poor reimbursement rates.
He notes, the agricultural economy has long been a concern.
“There has been some stabilization in crop and livestock prices, maybe even a slight improvement in some cases,” Thompson says. “That may be making people a bit more optimistic as well. We do think agriculture has gone through a tough period and it’s now stabilizing and hopefully, it will turn a bit higher.”
Thompson says the June results are significantly better than during May. He adds, consumers can now be characterized as optimistic.
By Jane Monnich, KLIN, Lincoln