Two monthly reports on Nebraska's economy show a slightly different picture of how conditions are.
The latest monthly surveys from the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln show both consumer and business confidence rebounded in the state last month.
Nebraska’s consumer confidence index, which is based on the monthly Survey of Nebraska Households, rose to 115.2 in January from 93.3 in December. The January value is well above the neutral level of 100, indicating that consumer confidence is strong.
“January consumer confidence returned to the high levels seen in November 2017,” Eric Thompson, an economist who serves as bureau director, said in a news release. “The rebound suggests that strong consumer confidence may be long lasting in our state.”
There was also an increase in Nebraska’s business confidence index, according to responses to the January Survey of Nebraska Business. The Business Confidence Index-Nebraska rose to 112.2 in January from 107.5 in December. Both values are well above the neutral level of 100.
“Business confidence remains strong in Nebraska. However, businesses continue to face challenges, including from online competitors and with workforce,” Thompson said. “In addition, health care businesses, agricultural businesses and businesses located in rural areas were most likely to report challenges related to poor customer demand.”
A separate survey from Creighton University determined things weren't quite as rosy.
The Mid-America Business Conditions Index for Nebraska dipped to 53.7 in January from 57.6 in December.
Nebraska's number, though above the growth-neutral level of 50, was lower than the overall index for nine Midwest and Plains states. That index dropped to 57.3 in January from 59 in December.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, said that despite the decline in the index, long-term trends seem positive, with manufacturing and other business sectors seeing job growth.
In Nebraska, for instance, "Sizable gains in business activity and jobs for nondurable-goods producers in the state more than offset losses in business activity and jobs for durable-goods manufacturers," he said.