September 2, 2014

Nationstar slashes more jobs in Scottsbluff

A Texas-based mortgage company is cutting more jobs at its office in the Nebraska panhandle.

Officials with Nationstar Mortgage say they plan to eliminate another 90 positions at the firm’s facility in Scottsbluff.

The cuts are expected to start within a matter of weeks, during September and October.

Back in March, Nationstar announced it would be terminating at least 100 personnel in Scottsbluff.

The new round of cuts will leave less than half the staff of a year ago, with about 150 regular employees and another 50 on contract.

Company officials point to major changes in the mortgage industry over the past year.


Omaha ranks in the nation’s top 3 cities for “yuppies”

Nebraska’s largest city ranks toward the very top of a new national survey.

Out of the 100 biggest metro areas, Forbes magazine lists Omaha as the number-three city in America for young professionals.

Criteria include things like: median salary, unemployment, cost of living and percentage of population with a bachelors degree.

Omaha moved up two slots from the last time the survey was done in 2011, placing third behind Raleigh, North Carolina at number two and Des Moines, Iowa, at number-one.

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UNL Economic Indicator Down in Latest Survey

Nebraska’s leading economic indicator drops for the first time in six months after the latest survey results. University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Bureau of Business Research Director Eric Thompson maintains that it it will be critical to monitor leading indicator values over the next few months to see if this trend continues.

“I think it does suggest that the economy, while strong throughout the state and should be strong throughout 2014, the rate of growth should begin to moderate more in 2015,” Thompson notes.

“There were some positives in the report, but it makes the important point that while we’re having a period of strong growth right now, that may not last indefinitely.”

Thompson says business expectations remain positive in July,but single-family building permits and manufacturing hours both fell during the month, while initial unemployment claims rose. Overall, the index fell by .75 percent for the month of July.

Analysts watching propane inventories carefully

Last winter’s high propane prices were caused by lower inventories, high demand and transportation to get it to the Midwest. Due to the severity of the problem close attention is being paid to inventories now. T. Mason Hamilton is one of those watching. He is an analyst with the U-S Energy Information Administration and says this is the key time period to be watching supplies.

 The latest inventory report shows 23.4-million barrels compared to 21.5-million this time one year ago. The bad news is that is 1.6-million barrels under the five year average.

 Hamilton says where we go from here depends a lot on the weather. He says in 2013 there was a record corn crop and a lot of propane was used to dry wet corn. He says shortly after came record cold temperatures and the demand for propane skyrocketed. He says some of the high costs propane users saw last year were due to emergency measures to get propane from other areas to meet the demand.

State unemployment rate rises a tenth of a percent, still lower than a year ago

The state unemployment rate rose slightly in July, up a tenth of a point to 3.6%.

Acting state Commissioner of Labor, John Albin, has been reviewing the numbers.

“The thing that stands out to me is that it was the 11th straight month where if you do a year over year comparison the unemployment rate went down,” Albin tells Nebraska Radio Network.

Albin says it is not unusual to observe a lot of month-to-month fluctuations.

“Just comparing month-to-month, it really isn’t always statistically significant if the rate goes up or down, but when you start comparing year-over-year that’s where you start seeing where the economy is trending,” according to Albin.

The state unemployment rate in July was 3.6%, according to the Nebraska Department of Labor. That is a tenth of a percent higher than in June. It is four-tenths of a percent lower than July of 2013.

The same pattern holds in the state’s two biggest cities.

The unemployment rate of the metropolitan area of Omaha was 4.2% in July, up a tenth of a percent from June, but three tenths of a percent lower than July of last year.

In Lincoln, the unemployment rate rose a tenth of a percent in July to 3.4% which is half a percentage point below the Lincoln unemployment rate of July 2013.