Nebraska’s September unemployment rate remains nation’s lowest
The Nebraska Department of Labor reports that September’s state unemployment rate remains the lowest in the country, at 3.5%. Last month’s rate is half a percentage point higher than the state unemployment rate was this time last year, but continues a trend back toward pre-pandemic employment levels.
The department reports that education and health, professional and business services, and financial activities were the market segments that saw the most employment growth from the previous month.
Unemployment is also on a downward trend among Nebraska’s neighbors. Each state’s jobless rate is lower than the national rate of 7.9%, with South Dakota, Iowa, and Missouri ranking within the ten lowest states.
Things are not back to normal in Nebraska, of course, but the state has arguably returned to a normal level of unemployment. Federal Reserve data show Nebraska has registered a 3.5% unemployment rate on numerous occasions during non-recession years, including during several months over the last decade since the Great Recession.
The unemployment picture still varies dramatically across the country, with tourism-dependent Hawaii posting the country’s highest 15.1% unemployment rate. Factors that can impact the pace of state recoveries in this recession include the severity of measures for business closures in a response to COVID-19, not to forget the toll of the disease itself; the impact of the pandemic and recession on a state’s key industries, and state participation in federal relief programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program and agricultural support programs.