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US economic growth to outpace Nebraska's

July 13, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's surging economy will slow enough this year for the rest of the nation to catch up, a state business council said in a report released Friday.

The Nebraska Business Forecast Council predicts the U.S. economy as a whole will outpace Nebraska's for the remaining months of 2014. Nebraska has enjoyed strong growth in farming and home construction in recent years.

The council says Nebraska will see stable farm income and relatively small increases in non-farm employment and income. The U.S. economy is expected to grow by more than 3 percent before the end of the year before moderating in 2015 and 2016.

"This partly reflects slower underlying population growth and partly reflects that Nebraska's labor market is stronger and less in need of recovery," said University of Nebraska-Lincoln economist Eric Thompson, the director of the university's Bureau of Business Research.

Income growth should remain strong enough that Nebraska can maintain its advantage in per-capita personal income, according to the report. Nebraska's per-capita income was 3.3 percent higher than the rest of the nation's in 2013, the report said.

Crop prices rose early this year but remain significantly lower than the records seen in 2012. As a result, crop prices are high enough to provide significant returns growers while allowing livestock producers to remain profitable.

Farm income levels should forestall any major declines in the price of farmland, according to the report. In addition, the recovery in home construction has helped add more than 3,000 jobs to the construction sector since 2011. The job growth is expected to continue, though at a slower pace. State and local governments are expected to set more money aside for road construction.

Nebraska will also continue to face a shortage of skilled workers for manufacturing jobs at prevailing wages.

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