Nebraska in National Spotlight
Nebraska’s unemployment rate in October was the lowest for any state ever according to the Wall Street Journal. Nebraska’s rate clocked in at 1.9 percent. The national rate was 4.6 percent. No state has ever recorded a lower unemployment rate since records have been kept. Several factors play a role in Nebraska’s low rate—an industry mix which includes agriculture and food processing which were deemed essential during the pandemic, few government-imposed restrictions on businesses in the pandemic, large finance and insurance sectors which are more resilient, and a high level of high school educational attainment.
Nebraska’s labor market, though, isn’t without warts. According to ZipRecruiter, the state has more than three job openings per job seeker, the highest ratio in the country. And the Nebraska Department of Economic Development reports that the total labor force in Nebraska was down 2.2 percent in September 2021 compared to September 2020. The U.S. labor force was 0.9 percent higher. However, Nebraska’s labor-force participation rate, share of the population working or seeking a job, was 68.4 percent in October. The rate for the U.S. was 61.6 percent.
Figure 4. Nebraska Unemployment Rate