Consumer confidence declined while business confidence remained strong in Nebraska during May, according to the latest monthly surveys from the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The monthly Survey of Nebraska Households showed that Nebraska’s consumer confidence index fell to 100.4 in May from a value of 102.5 in April. The May value is close to the neutral level of 100.0, indicating that consumers are split regarding economic conditions. Nearly half of the respondents cited cost concerns – such as cost of living, health care costs, taxes and other major expenses – as the top financial issue they face while nearly one-fifth choose concerns about savings.
“The May results are a retreat from April,” said Eric Thompson, an economist who serves as bureau director. “Consumers should be characterized as neutral rather than optimistic.”
The monthly Survey of Nebraska Business indicated that Nebraska’s business confidence index rose to 110.2 in May from a value of 109.1 in April 2017.
“Nebraska businesses were very confident about prospects for both sales and employment,” Thompson said. “Business confidence has been strong in each of the first five months of 2017.” During May, an elevated share of businesses were concerned about the availability and quality of labor, indicating that labor shortages are a key concern for Nebraska businesses.
The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses and households. During May, 138 businesses responded to the Survey of Nebraska Business, for a response rate of 28 percent. There were 143 respondents to the Survey of Nebraska Households, for a response rate of 29 percent.