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Consumer and business confidence diverged in Nebraska during August, according to the latest monthly surveys from the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Business confidence rose to 110.4 last month, from 106.4 in July, according to the results of the monthly Survey of Nebraska Business. At the same time, consumer confidence fell, from 101.9 in July to just 100.2 in August.

“While business confidence remains strong, consumer confidence is best described as neutral,” Eric Thompson, an economist who serves as bureau director, said in a news release. “Concerns about cost of living are one reason for fading consumer confidence, despite a solid job market in Nebraska.”

The surveys also gathered information about the top issues faced by households and businesses. Roughly one in two Nebraska households chose a cost factor as their top issue. “Many households were concerned about health care costs as well as the general cost of living, including rent, utilities, insurance, education and food,” said Thompson.

He said businesses also reported cost-related concerns, with 24 percent choosing the availability of labor as their top business concern and 12 percent choosing the cost of goods and services. Concerns about business costs have been rising in recent months.

The surveys are sent each month to 500 randomly selected Nebraska businesses and households. During August, 152 businesses responded to the Survey of Nebraska Business, for a response rate of 30 percent. There were 125 responses to the Survey of Nebraska Households, for a response rate of 25 percent.

To see the full survey report, go to bbr.unl.edu.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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