Recession, the alarm bell word.

That's the word that sends shivers up the back of the economy and pushes the stock market on a downward slide.  

But it's a word that fits what happened to Nebraska's economy during the last quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of this year, according to new statistics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The data "indicates that Nebraska's economy expanded in the second quarter of 2017 after contracting for two straight quarters, which defines a technical recession," according to Vance Ginn, a senior economist at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The ugly economic numbers: the state's gross domestic product contracted by 1.8 percent in the last quarter of 2016 and by 4.5 percent in the first quarter of this year.  

Nebraska's economy grew by 1.1 percent in the second quarter of this year.

"These newly-revised numbers confirm that Nebraska experienced a technical recession in the midst of the agricultural downturn," the Platte Institute stated in drawing attention to the report this week.

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And that's a big double-hit.

Meanwhile, a fresh economic indicator report from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this week points to slowing economic growth in the state during the second quarter of the coming year, an indication that the state may spend more time in the economic woods.

Nebraska has been adversely impacted by a rising strength in the U.S. dollar, which in turn raises competitive prices for Nebraska's agricultural and manufacturing exports, according to Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research at UNL and an associate professor of economics.

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All of that triggers change in the state's so-called economic indicator, a composite of economic factors that predict economic growth six months into the future.

Meanwhile, the Open Sky Policy Institute has cautioned state government leaders to refrain from taking any significant action to revise the state budget until the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board meets again in February to reassess its state revenue forecast.  

At that time, state leaders should also have a better understanding of the impact of potential federal income tax changes now being considered by Congress, OpenSky executive director Renee Fry said.

"Our revenue system is not keeping up with the needs of our state and further reducing revenue could harm our schools, public safety programs and other services that are vital to our state and its economy," Fry said. 

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.


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