Nebraska unemployment ranks lowest, approaching pre-pandemic levels
Since the start of the pandemic, Americans have wondered when the job market would return to normal. For Nebraska, that time may be now. The Nebraska Department of Labor announced Friday that the state’s unemployment rate currently sits at 4%. That figure is not only the lowest in Nebraska since the beginning of the pandemic but the lowest state unemployment rate in the nation.
Updated numbers from July show Nebraska’s unemployment rate declined 0.9% from the previous month. Our neighbors in Iowa, Wyoming, and Colorado also saw declines in their jobless rates, while Kansas and Missouri’s unemployment were statistically about the same as the previous month. All of Nebraska’s neighbors have lower unemployment rates than the country as a whole, though.
While preliminary figures for August show that non-farm employment in Nebraska was still down by 37,504 jobs since the same time last year, sectors hard-hit in the recession were seeing improvements. Education, health, and financial activities were up 586 jobs and leisure & hospitality increased by 2,659 jobs over the previous month.
One cause for concern, however, is the growth in weekly unemployment claims. For the week of Sept 12, Nebraska processed 2,622 claims, which was a hundred more than the previous week. Though leisure & hospitality saw the highest job creation within the past month it’s also ranked second in the industries with the highest unemployment claims for the week of Sept 12.
Nebraska is beginning to close in on pre-pandemic levels of unemployment, which is welcome news. However, the pandemic is still leaving a long-term impression on the national and global economy, which can also impact employment in Nebraska in the months ahead.