Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Nebraska's Economy: 1/2 Step Forward, Two Steps Back

by Kyle Michaelis
As some of you might recall, Nebraska held the crown as the Stagnation National Champion for several months last year before revised data came in pushing Michigan just ahead of us in terms of pathetic economic growth.

Well, guess what - a new batch of numbers are in from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and, thanks to Hurricane Katrina and the continued decimation of America's manufacturing sector, Nebraska doesn't quite stand-out as much as it did last year. The state's economy is still growing at the same snail's pace, but it seems we've been joined by a couple more snails along the way.

In cold hard numbers, Nebraska currently ranks 40th in the nation for economic growth in the year 2005. From the very bottom to at least one step above the basement floor - it would be nice to see that as progress, but any such characterization would be extremely deceptive. Take a look:

Nebraska continues to lag behind every one of its neigboring states, especially those to its West. Moreover, Nebraska's paltry growth rate of 1.7% is less than half of the national average (3.5%).

Looking closely at the data provided, it even becomes clear that Nebraska's already disappointing 2005 results are, in fact, inflated by yet another revisal of the state's 2004 performance. The once-adjusted 2004 growth rate of 1.5% was downgraded to 1.1% with this report, meaning whatever gains we seem to have made since are largely optical illusions burying the ills that plague our economy in prior years' statistics.

Nothing to celebrate here, folks. That's for sure. And, with the BEAs penchant for revising their figures, I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if we fall further down this rabbit hole of economic despair before all is said and done.

Of course, for 2005, we're never going to compete with Katrina-ravaged Louisiana, but second-place is still very much up for grabs. Keep the same leadership in the Governor's Mansion - the same 'stay the course' rhetoric on the economy that seems so familiar in this dark political climate - and, regardless, we should be well set-up to make another run at the title next summer.


Blogger phat said...

Great post, Kyle.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

could there be a coorelation between the god awfu nebraska minimum wage and its overall economic browth? ... i know many economists would suggest so ... when people earn more they can spend more ...creating more jobs and more overall growth.

course the gop can hardly understand such concepts as they embrace class warfare.


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