March 31, 2015

Nebraska unemployment rate drops to lowest in the nation

JobsThe state unemployment rate fell to 2.7%, the lowest in the nation.

The Nebraska Department of Labor announced the preliminary unemployment rate for February stood at 2.7%, seasonally adjusted, down two-tenths of a percent from January, down nearly a percent from February of last year.

The state unemployment rate for Nebraska also dropped below the rate in North Dakota, making it the lowest rate in the country. The North Dakota unemployment rate was 2.9%.

Gov. Pete Ricketts issued the following statement:

“Today’s announcement that Nebraska has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation is great news for our state. We must continue to think strategically about the future. Growing Nebraska for the next generation requires careful planning so that our children and grandchildren have the opportunities they need to live, work, and raise a family here in Nebraska for generations to come.”

The unemployment rate for the Omaha metropolitan area was 3.2%, down from 3.6% in January. In Lincoln, the unemployment rate dropped to 2.4%, down from 2.8%.

The national unemployment rate is 5.5%

Federal Reserve hints at interest rate increase

The head of the Federal Reserve Wednesday hinted at an increase in interest rates but Janet Yellen was very careful not to say how much or when. Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss interprets her message.

Goss says, “I think it is time to move ahead but it is going to be a gradual increase. Don’t look for rates to rise dramatically, especially on mortgage rates. These are mostly short-term interest rates, automobile loans for example, will probably go up between now and June by 1/4%.” 

There has not been an increase in interest rates for nine years. Goss says the Federal Reserve is trying to head off any future inflation and interest rates now are the lowest in the 100-plus years of the Federal Reserve.

Conference in Stuart to focus on rural “in-migration”

cneddMany rural Nebraska communities are seeing more young individuals and families exploring the possibility of returning to their hometowns.

There are roadblocks though, which is why the Central Nebraska Economic Development District is hosting a conference next week to discuss topics to help those communities.

Judy Peterson is district’s executive director and says this is a positive move for the state.

“We’re seeing a trend of young families that are wanting to move back to rural Nebraska, which is fabulous and exciting,” Peterson says. “We want to make sure our communities are prepared to bring them back and have some of the programs and amenities and the job opportunities that will get them here.”

The conference will feature many different topics from housing to job development to local tax programs and veterans assistance.

Peterson says the amenities that families seek in a community will also be on the agenda.

“People don’t realize that just building houses isn’t economic development activity,” Peterson says. “Some people just think about jobs and things like that.”

The conference will be held on Friday, March 27th, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at the Stuart Community Center in Stuart. Peterson says anyone interested in community development and improvement is welcome to attend.

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton


Nebraska unemployment rate drops below three percent

JobsThe state unemployment rate has dropped below three percent.

The Nebraska Department of Labor has announced the preliminary unemployment rate for January dropped to 2.9%; down two-tenths of a percent from December and half a percentage point from January a year ago when the unemployment rate stood at 3.4%.

According to the Labor Department, nonfarm employment in January totaled 982,468, better than 11,600 more jobs than the previous January. The education and health services sectors demonstrated the biggest growth followed by other services as well as professional and business services.

The Lincoln area unemployment rate in January was 2.8%, according to the state Labor Department with the Omaha rate at 3.5%.

The state unemployment rate is roughly half the national unemployment rate, which in January stood at 5.7%.

Encouraging news for Nebraska’s job seekers in 2nd quarter

JobsMore than one-quarter of the businesses in the state have plans to hire more employees during the coming three months, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

Manpower spokeswoman Karen Miller says the survey covers Nebraska employers’ staffing plans for the calendar year’s second quarter.

“We’re looking at 26% of companies that we interviewed are planning to hire more employees from the April to June time frame,” Miller says. “That, added with the 71% of employers who expect to maintain their current workforce, we are looking at a solid 97% of employers remaining steady with their current staff or adding.”

Just one-percent of the company officials surveyed indicated they’ll decrease staff levels in the months ahead, with two-percent undecided. The previous survey conducted by Manpower, released in December, didn’t have such a bright picture for the current quarter of January through March.

“Eight percent of the employers we interviewed had said that they were going to be decreasing staff and now we’re looking at Q2 of 2015 and only 1% say they’re looking to decrease staff,” Miller says. “Solid, solid economy, solid hiring climate for Nebraska.”

The numbers for Nebraska are better than the national figures for the second quarter. Where 26% of employers in Nebraska plan to hire during the upcoming three months, the national figure is 22%.