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Nebraska sets national record with 1.9% unemployment rate

Nebraska sets national record with 1.9% unemployment rate

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Scarlet Hotel

Construction workers work on the exterior of the Scarlet Hotel on Nebraska Innovation Campus last month. Nebraska set an all-time-low unemployment rate for any state during the month, at 1.9%

In a tiny storefront on Ashland’s main street, Justin Raikes and his wife, Lindsey, sell high-quality steaks and ground beef produced by hormone-free, American Wagyu cattle raised on the Raikes farm.

For the first time ever, Nebraska’s unemployment rate has dropped below 2%.

According to data released Friday by the Nebraska Department of Labor, the state’s unemployment rate for October was 1.9%. Not only has the rate never been that low in Nebraska, it’s never been that low in any other state, either.

“The record rate is a sign of our strong job growth, successful reemployment services, and extraordinary economic resilience,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said in a statement.

A big part of the reason the unemployment rate continued to drop so low last month was the increase in people working. The number of filled jobs in the state grew by more than 30,500 compared with October 2020 and by more than 10,700 from September.

Commissioner of Labor John Albin said the month-to-month jobs increase was the highest ever recorded for October.

In Iowa, the unemployment rate dropped slightly in October to 3.9%, according to Iowa Workforce Development. The rate declined from 4% in September and was down from 4.2% a year ago.

Despite the increase in people with jobs, Nebraska still faces a huge labor shortage. As of this week, there were more than 50,000 jobs being advertised statewide on the Department of Labor’s website.

A recent study from the Pew Charitable Trusts found that Nebraska has the largest shortage of workers in the country based on available jobs to unemployed workers, with a ratio of three open jobs to every one unemployed worker.

The Omaha metro area’s unemployment rate was 1.7% in October, unchanged from September and down from 3.5% in October 2020.

The Lincoln area’s 1.3% rate in October matched the record set in September. It was down from the 3.2% rate in October 2020. The area’s total of employed workers was up by more than 6,000 from a year ago and by more than 1,200 from September. Its total number of jobs filled was up nearly 1,600 from September and more than 6,100 from a year ago.

The state’s unemployment rate was less than half the national rate of 4.6%, while the Lincoln area’s rate was less than a third of that number.

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