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With agriculture continuing to be mired in a years-long slump, Nebraska's economy will count on manufacturing and construction to keep it growing over the next few years.

The most recent long-term forecast from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Bureau of Business Research and the Nebraska Business Forecast Council released Friday morning predicts farm income will decline nearly 7 percent in 2018 before rebounding in 2019 and 2020.

However, the manufacturing, construction and service industries will produce strong growth over the next three years, allowing the state's economy to expand, according to the forecast.

Manufacturing in Nebraska is experiencing its strongest growth since before the recession, and the forecast predicts the sector will add 2,800 jobs over the next three years.

Construction, which has been experiencing fast growth over the past few years, is expected to add 3,200 jobs over the next three years.

Nebraska's largest employer, the services sector, will add between 4,800 and 6,100 jobs each year, and will account for more than half of overall Nebraska job growth during the forecast period.

"This growth is sufficient to exceed inflation and population growth, meaning real per-capita income in Nebraska will grow from 2018 to 2020," Eric Thompson, economist and director of the Bureau of Business Research, said in a news release.

Thompson said non-farm income should grow between 3.6 and 3.8 percent each year from 2018-2020.

The full Business in Nebraska economic forecast is available at the Bureau of Business Research website, 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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