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Nebraska economy could slow this winter, study says

Virus Outbreak Nebraska
A couple wearing face masks walk past a maintenance worker, right, at the Gateway shopping mall in Lincoln, Neb., Friday, May 1, 2020. Nebraska is one of the few states that have allowed malls to remain open throughout the pandemic even though many businesses are closed because the state prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people and has limited restaurants and bars to takeout and delivery services. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) Nati Harnik/AP

Nebraska economy could slow this winter, study says

September 09, 12:00 PM September 09, 12:00 PM

Nebraska’s economy could be headed for a winter chill, according to a new study.

The state’s leading economic indicator dropped slightly in July, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found.

“The small decline in the indicator suggests that economic growth may slow in Nebraska in the first months of 2022,” Eric Thompson, a professor of economics at the university and director of the Bureau of Business Research, said.

However, Renee Fry, executive director of the non-profit group OpenSky Policy Institute, disagrees.

“Federal stimulus dollars from the CARES Act have given Nebraska a significant economic bump, and we would expect a similar boost from American Rescue Plan dollars, most of which haven’t been distributed yet,” she told The Center Square.

New federal spending could pour even more dollars into the state, she added.

“If Congress passes additional measures, like the infrastructure bill, we would suspect even more of a bump,” Fry said. “With the infusion of additional federal dollars, we think there is a strong likelihood that the economy could do better than economic indicators are currently predicting.”

In Nebraska in July, building permits for single-family homes and manufacturing hours worked declined, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said.

There was an increase in initial unemployment claims and the value of the U.S. dollar.

“A rising dollar creates challenges for Nebraska businesses that compete in international markets, especially within the agriculture and manufacturing industries,” the university said.

However, businesses’ expectations for sales and hiring were up, as were airline passenger counts.

The leading economic indicators components in the study are business expectations, building permits for single-family homes, airline passenger counts, initial claims for unemployment insurance, value of the U.S. dollar and manufacturing hours worked.

“Four of six components worsened during July,” the university said.

In July, the indicator dropped 0.17%, the first decline in 10 months.

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