Nebraska Hopes To Combat Economic Downturn in Midwest With Small Business Development Programs



Now Hiring sign join business work teamA new survey has suggested that an economic slowdown is in Nebraska’s near future, and eight other Midwestern states could be along for the ride, too.

According to the Nebraska Radio Network, a second consecutive monthly survey of nine Midwestern states is showing an overall decrease in economic strength. The survey measured economic activity and various manufacturing sectors in the state of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

The Mid-American Business Conditions Index stated that the region’s overall economic activity index dropped from 49.6 in August to 47.7 in September, on a scale of 0 to 100 (with 0 being the lowest amount of economic growth and 100 being the most). Anything over 50, the survey researchers explained, signals economic growth.

Nebraska’s index fell below 50 for the third straight month to 45.4 in September. The region’s agriculture and energy sectors have been hit the hardest, and both have seen a decrease in employment rates and in overall business confidence.

Economists are worrying that these states could begin slumping down to 2009 levels of economic activity, but not if Nebraska legislators have anything to say about it.

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development recently asked state residents to share their thoughts on a series of government funding programs for small businesses, reported, and the Nebraska Legislature has already approved a plan to direct $7 million annually in 2016 and 2017 toward these programs.

Although a large part of these programs are expected to provide aid to rural areas, Nebraska officials seem to be in agreement that the state’s startup businesses need and deserve the same amount of attention and financial assistance.

While a tech startup doesn’t have to worry about the same natural disasters as a farm does, tech-focused businesses are just as susceptible to their own types of natural disasters; cyber security threats, for example, seem to be infiltrating businesses left and right. Over 85% of small businesses in the U.S. reported a cyber security threat in 2012, and this can easily cost thousands of dollars more than a small business can afford to pay.

While these risks can’t exactly be controlled by increased state funding, extra assistance can convince more entrepreneurs to take the risk of starting up a business.

According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Nebraska consistently ranks below the national average for individual business growth, and the state has already recognized that it must equip its biggest cities with new technology and better infrastructure in order to convince young entrepreneurs to stay.

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