Nebraska recovers to pre-pandemic jobs count
Nebraska’s economy achieved an important milestone in July, adding enough jobs to match its pre-pandemic jobs count from February 2020. The state’s economy now has 1,033,200 non-farm payroll jobs and the nation’s second-lowest unemployment rate at 2.0%.
The national economy also recovered to its pre-recession jobs level in July, marking an important step in national recovery. Missouri and Alabama joined Nebraska in completing their jobs recoveries in July, too, tying the three states for 16th in recovering to their pre-recession jobs levels.
The July national recovery divides states between those that have led the recovery and those that have lagged the recovery. For example, Nebraska is one of 18 states that achieved a jobs recovery before or on pace with the national average. States like Texas (+546,900), Florida (+357,900), and North Carolina (+168,300) currently exceed their pre-pandemic jobs count by the most. On the other hand, New York (-351,200) has the most jobs to regain in order to complete its recovery, and is likely more than a year away from achieving its recovery.
Nebraska’s jobs downturn was less steep than the national average, leaving less ground to make up during recovery. The Cornhusker State lost nearly 100,000 jobs from February to April of 2020, a huge two-month decline (-9.5%) by any historical comparison, but a less severe decline than the jobs loss for the U.S. as a whole (-14.4%). It took Nebraska just over two years to earn back its pre-recession jobs count.
Nebraska’s economy has recovered unevenly, which is not unusual and is reflected in the economies of most other states. Nebraska’s strong agricultural and manufacturing sector have been a driving force for the recovery. These sectors have benefited from strong global demand for agricultural commodities and manufactured food products. In addition, Nebraska’s education and health care sector exceeds its pre-pandemic jobs count by 4,600.
On the other hand, Government jobs are down by 6,000 and Financial Activities jobs are down by 4,000. Leisure and hospitality jobs remain down 2,200. The Leisure and hospitality sector was the hardest-hit during the pandemic downturn.
The pandemic recovery puts Nebraska in a strong position. Additional policy achievements in the 2023 legislative session will help Nebraska attract more people, jobs, and investments. With nearly 80,000 job openings in the state, Nebraska needs to attract workers from other states to fill the labor gaps in its economy.
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