The Kansas City Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank published its latest edition of The Nebraska Economic Databook on October 21.
Compiled by Nathan Kauffman, Assistant Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive, the report provides a snapshot of jobs in Nebraska’s economy.
Nebraska’s unemployment rate in August was 3.1 percent, slightly higher than last year but still less than the rate for the country. Thirty-seven counties had unemployment rates above the statewide average, including Douglas County at 3.2 percent. Seven counties had unemployment rates greater than 4.0 percent with the highest being in Arthur County at 7.7 percent. Forty counties had unemployment rates less than 3 percent with Chase County having the lowest rate at 2.2 percent. While lower employment rates are generally preferable to higher rates, here, one can’t help but wonder whether the low unemployment rates in rural areas are more indicative of the lack of a labor force than job growth.
Total Nebraska jobs numbered 1.03 million in September, up 0.8 percent over last year. The largest percentage increases in jobs occurred in construction (5.0 percent), transportation and warehousing (4.1 percent), federal government (2.4 percent) and educational services (2.2 percent). On the other hand, the number of jobs in retail trade and information shrunk compared to last year by 2.0 percent and 2.3 percent respectively.
Figure 2. August 2019 Umemployment Rate
Source: The Nebraska Economic Databook, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, October 21, 2019