Nebraska businesses are optimistic in their outlook for sales over the next six months and very optimistic in their outlook for employment.
One in five respondents to the March Survey of Nebraska Business, conducted by the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, expected to add employees in the next 6 months versus just 4 percent who expected to reduce employment.
While nearly half of respondents expect steady sales over the next six months, 30 percent predict sales growth versus 22 percent predicting a decline in sales.
The sales outlook improved relative to January and February, said Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research. “Businesses became somewhat more optimistic about sales, a trend which will need to continue in order to sustain solid job growth,” he said.
Customer demand was the most common business concern, cited by 42 percent of respondents. “Such heightened concern about customer demand reflects lower prices for corn, soybeans and other crops,” according to Thompson. For the seventh consecutive month, quality and availability of labor was cited second most often, chosen by 16 percent of respondents.
The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses. In March, 145 businesses responded, for a response rate of 29 percent. Thompson combined February and March 2015 responses to analyze economic trends by region.
“Omaha area businesses were most optimistic,” Thompson said, expressing optimism for both sales and employment. Expectations about sales were neutral or negative in other regions of the state. Business across the state, however, indicated plans to add employment over the next six months.