Nebraska’s unemployment rate held steady in December at 3%, matching South Dakota for the nation’s lowest.
State Labor Commissioner John Albin says the rate hasn’t changed since Oct and is the same as it was from Sept-Dec 2019, just ahead of the coronavirus pandemic.
Albin says Nebraska employment has recovered significantly since April, the peak for employment losses due to the pandemic, adding more than 71,000 nonfarm jobs for a total of roughly 1 million.
Filled jobs were up 5,394 – the largest Dec increase ever, although Nebraska still has 21,403 fewer jobs total than a year ago.
Private industry sectors with the most growth since last Dec were education and health – up 2,976 – financial activities, up 2,143 – and mining and construction – up 1,316.
The largest gains from Nov in trade, transportation and utilities – up 4,122 – and professional and business service up 1,437.
Albin says the low unemployment rate is likely due to a combination of factors, including major industries in Nebraska that weren’t hit as hard by the pandemic and unemployed people who aren’t counted because they’ve stopped looking for jobs.
The Dec unemployment rate in Omaha was 3%, up a tenth of a point from Nov and 3-10ths over a year ago, while Lincoln’s 2.9% was up 2-10th for the month and 6-10ths for the year. Grand Island posted a 4.4% rate, up 4-10ths from Nov and a whopping 1.4-points higher than in 2019.
The Scottsbluff Micropolitan Statistical Area had a jobless rate of 2.8%, up a tenth of a point for the month but 6-10ths under the year before. State numbers are adjusted for seasonal factors while local rates are not, making comparisons meaningless