Nebraska sets another unemployment record; Iowa creeps under 4%

WOWT 6 News Live at 10
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 11:05 AM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - For the second straight month, the Nebraska Department of Labor has announced that the state’s unemployment rate has reached a record low.

The statement came Friday with Nebraska reporting a 1.9% unemployment rate across the state. More specifically, the release shows that Omaha has a 1.7% unemployment rate with Lincoln coming in even lower at 1.3%. In Sept., the state’s unemployment rate was at 2%.

The NDOL reports that Nebraska’s 1.9% unemployment in Oct. is well below the national average of 4.6%.

Reports show that Nebraska ranks #1 in the nation for unemployment rate and #1 for employment-to-population ratio, 68.4%. The Good Life state ranks second in labor force participation with 68.4%, the NDOL states.

“Nebraska has achieved the lowest unemployment rate of any state in history,” said Gov. Ricketts. “The record rate is a sign of our strong job growth, successful reemployment services, and extraordinary economic resilience. Nebraska has plenty of great-paying career opportunities for anyone looking to enjoy the Good Life!”

Virginia Frazey helps recruit workers for businesses in the Omaha Metro.

“I’ve been doing this since 1993 and I’ve never seen it in Omaha like it is now.”

Frazey says there’s a reason the unemployment rate is so low in Nebraska.

“We have very strong employment growth and opportunities. The state chamber of commerce, the Omaha Chamber of Commerce are doing everything in their power to bring companies to Nebraska and then on top of it all these companies are trying to fill these positions and so what we are seeing is just everyone hiring,” said Frazey.

Frazey says that’s good for people looking for jobs right now.

She says she’s seeing clients looking for higher wages and better benefits and in most cases—they are getting what they ask for.

“They have truly all the power. They have a lot of choice. And what they are looking for is a lot of flexibility. The ability to work hybrid or 100% remote. The ability to pick and choose where they go, the type of industry, the type of job, and companies are going to have to get and have gotten very creative.”

Frazey says the solution is to draw more workers to live in the cornhusker state.

“It’s just how do we get people to want to move to Nebraska and I think there’s a lot to offer in getting people to come.”

Alongside Nebraska, the Iowa Workforce Development also reveals lower unemployment rates for Oct.

Per the IWD, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 4% in Sept. to 3.9% in Oct, decreasing the number of unemployed individuals by nearly 1,500.

“In October, Iowa saw net employment growth for the fifth time in the last six months,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Our key challenge remains helping increase the number of applicants employers receive for each opening and getting people who have left the labor market during the pandemic back into the workforce. We are hopeful that our new Reemployment Case Management system will help address both of those issues and significantly reduce the amount of time someone is without a job.”

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