The Mid America Business Conditions Index for the nine state area that includes Nebraska remained above that growth neutral point for the 14th straight month in January. Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss says the January index slipped slightly but still remains in that positive growth territory.
Goss says, “The economy is looking good. The number dipped from 59, which is very solid, very healthy, down to 57.3 for January. Again, that is in a range I call healthy. Fourteen straight months it has been above growth neutral so we are seeing for the region good growth for the next three to six months.”
The durable, nondurable and nonmanufacturing sectors are adding jobs at a solid pace. The January employment index remained above growth neutral at 52.3, down from December’s 57.7.
Goss says business managers surveyed did express several concerns. He says the inflation gauge is up to 74.5 and that is means escalating inflationary pressures. That is up from 71.3 in December, a range Goss is uncomfortable with. He says the feds are going to have to increase rates more than they anticipate for 2018.
Another concern is finding and hiring qualified workers. 53.3-percent of business managers reported that is their number one concern. Goss says the next factor they is higher input prices.
Nebraska’s January report shows the index dipped to 53.7, down from 57.6 in December.