Give Thanks: Following a Recession, Nebraska Is Growing Again

New and revised government statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) at the Department of Commerce show Nebraska’s economy grew in the 2nd quarter of 2017, but that the state technically went through a recession first before returning to the black.

Growth was significantly weaker in Nebraska and the Plains states than in most of the country in the 2nd quarter, and BEA statistics show that comes on the heels of two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth in Nebraska in 2016 and 2017.



Nebraska’s state Gross Domestic Product grew 1.1 percent in the 2nd quarter, or 46th nationally. The revised numbers for previous quarters show that in the first quarter of 2017, the state’s economy contracted 4.5 percent, while the last quarter of 2016 saw a reduction of 1.8 percent.

These newly revised numbers confirm that Nebraska experienced a technical recession in the midst of the agricultural downturn.

“Today’s BEA data indicate that Nebraska’s economy expanded in the second quarter of 2017 after contracting for two straight quarters, which defines a technical recession,” said Dr. Vance Ginn, a Senior Economist at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.


Highlighted sections show recession period. 

“While the state’s unemployment rate ticked up to 3.3 percent during the recession, Nebraska’s increased economic activity contributed to a decline in the unemployment rate to 2.7 percent in October 2017, the lowest since March 1999,” said Ginn.

By achieving this modest level of growth, Nebraska shows promise that it is rising out of the recession, but there’s still real pain to be found in the numbers for the state and region.

The BEA report shows a 10.6 percent reduction in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting segment of the economy in the second quarter of 2017. Iowa, South Dakota, Montana, Kansas, and Minnesota also registered among the country’s weakest economic growth in the second quarter of 2017.

“The Nebraska growth rate of 1.1 percent ranked 46th, so there’s need for improvement moving forward. By reducing government barriers to competition, Nebraska can be in a better position to withstand economic swings,” said Ginn.

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