Nebraska hospitality workforce 28% smaller than one year ago

Nebraska hospitality workforce 28% smaller than one year ago

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the May unemployment rates for 2020 this morning. Overall, it was a more optimistic picture for our nation. Rates were lower in 38 states, with Nebraska posting the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 5.2%. The total unemployed in the state currently stands at 54,879 people, down from a high of 92,638 in April 2020.

While this is good news on a national front, this rate is still one of the highest unemployment rates the state has ever experienced, tied with the May 1983 rate experienced during the Farm Crisis of the 1980s. The highest was felt last month when Nebraska hit 8.7% unemployment. One year ago, the state’s unemployment rate was 3.1% with only 32,104 people unemployed.

When looking at the industry breakdowns as compared to one year ago, May 2020 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector were down 27.7% with only 69,200 jobs statewide. While this is still a significant drop in jobs, it is better than the 36.9% drop in jobs the state experienced in April 2020.

Trade, transportation, and utility employees are experiencing a 6.2% job reduction as compared to one year ago, information jobs are down 6.9%, professional and business services declined 5.5%, and government employment fell 7.4%.

The news isn’t all bad. There are some industries that are doing quite well amid the pandemic. Mining, logging, and construction jobs have posted an increase of 2.4% compared to one year ago and financial activity jobs are only down 0.3%.

Taking a closer look at the state in aggregate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics only calculates the local unemployment for the four most populous areas in the state. Now we have the total labor force data at the local level for the month of April, arguably the worst month economically during the pandemic so far. Grand Island had the highest unemployment rate in the state at 11% with Omaha seeing the second-highest unemployment rate at 10%. Closely following were Sioux City at 9.6% and Lincoln at 9.3% unemployment.

The industry breakdowns are only available for Omaha, Lincoln, and Sioux City and as expected, the most job losses were posted in the leisure and hospitality industry, followed by trade, transportation, and utilities in Lincoln and Omaha, while Sioux City saw the second-largest impact in government jobs.

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