December 20, 2014

Nebraska unemployment rate dips to 3.1%

workerNebraska’s unemployment rate dropped, again.

The state Department of Labor reports the preliminary unemployment rate for November dipped to 3.1%, down three-tenths of a percent from October.

The labor news gets even better for the state’s two major cities. The Omaha metro area unemployment rate stands at 3% with the Lincoln rate dropping to 2.1%.

The national unemployment rate is 5.8%

Click here for full details on labor statistics.

Predicted record high employment numbers

Nebraska is on another top ten national economic development ranking. Governor Dave Heineman says the American Economic Development and Pollina Corporate placed the state in 4th best in the nation.

Governor Heineman also announced today that the job growth count is expected to top 1.1 million by 2015, a record high employment for the state.

Gov. Heineman says, “We are experiencing continued growth in a number of key industries, and additional growth is projected. This employment record also speaks positively to our continued efforts of keeping our young people here in Nebraska with meaningful careers.”

A news release states the education and health services areas are projected to add more than 6,800 jobs, with nearly 5,000 of these expected in health care and social assistance. One of the fastest growing industries within health care is ambulatory health care services, projected to grow by nearly 5 percent and add more than 1,700 jobs by 2015. The professional and business services arena is expected to gain more than 5,500 jobs. In the goods-producing industries, construction is expected to add more than 2,900 jobs and grow nearly 6.5 percent. Service-providing industries represent the majority of the remaining jobs.

Survey points to good job prospects in Nebraska in 2015

JobsFor people who are looking for a job, Nebraska should be a good place to find one in early 2015.

Karen Miller, a spokeswoman for Manpower Incorporated, says a survey of business leaders across the state by finds more than 20% plan to add to their workforces between January and March.

Miller says, “When taking a look and interviewing the businesses that participate in our survey, the exciting news is that about 70% of the employers surveyed said they’re going to maintain their current staff levels while another 21% are saying they’re going to increase staff levels.”

Those figures combined mean the first quarter of next year should be a good one for the state’s jobs outlook.

Miller says, “With 91% of businesses out there maintaining or increasing staff levels, it makes Nebraska a very solid place to find employment.”

While 21% of businesses surveyed in Nebraska plan to add to their staffs in the quarter ahead, about eight-percent plan to make cuts. When you subtract one from the other, you get what’s called the net employment outlook, which Miller says is very good for Nebraska.

Miller says, “Ultimately, the net employment outlook is a positive 13% for Q1, so if you’re needing a job, make sure you’re getting out there and knocking on some doors because the opportunties abound in Nebraska.”

The situation is much better than a year ago when the state’s first quarter net employment outlook was only at 8%.

Nebraska’s jobless rate is hovering around 3.5%, which is well below the national unemployment rate of almost 6%.


AAA expects another 10-15-cent drop at the pump

We are seeing the lowest gas prices since October of 2010. Triple-A Nebraska reports the national average for low octane blend fuel is $2.74 a gallon, down 52-cents from this time one year ago.

AAA-Nebraska spokesperson Rose White says Nebraska’s average price at the pump is $2.78 a gallon, 4-cents higher than the national average. Of the 185 Nebraska cities surveyed on December 3rd, only 14 communities posted average fuel prices above $3 a gallon.

White says crude oil represents about two-thirds of the price of a gallon of gas. Every $10 per barrel change in price typically results in a 25-cent change in the price of gasoline.

The commodity price for process unleaded fuel is $1.81 a gallon. That does not include state and federal taxes, delivery fees and local retail costs and profit margins.

AAA says prices could drop another 10-15 cents a gallon in most markets in the weeks ahead.

Results of UNO’s Nebraska Metro Poll display optimism

Every year the University of Nebraska – Lincoln conducts a rural poll that examines how residents feel about their well-being and outlook for the future. As a counterpart to that poll, University of Nebraska – Omaha conducted the Nebraska Metro Poll that examined similar measures.

Research Coordinator with UNO’s Center for Public Affairs Research David Drozd says they surveyed nearly 1,500 residents of Cass, Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy, Saunders, Seward and Washington Counties. The survey shows:

44% believe their community has changed for the better in the past year. 15% thought their community is worse.

More than half indicated they were better off compared to five years ago and better off than their parents when they were their age.

74% of those under 40 expected to be better off in 10 years compared to 20% of those 65 or older.

Drodz says those in Lancaster County seem to be the most optimistic. In Douglas County, those living in the northeast are optimistic about the future while those living in the southeast portion of the county have a more negative outlook.

Drozd says they plan a follow-up survey that will focus on public service, local government, streets and roads.