State Chamber of Commerce President Barry Kennedy says the low state unemployment rate makes Nebraska the envy of the nation, but also makes it hard for businesses to find qualified employees.
“We’re a big state geographically, but we’re a pretty small state population-wise,” Kennedy tells Nebraska Radio Network. “So, the big challenge is just simply numbers, but then, closely behind that would be the skill sets and having an available workforce that has the skill sets to fit the kind of jobs that are available.”
Kennedy says there is a broad range of jobs available throughout Nebraska.
“Manufacturing has high demand. Logistics has high demands for people; IT. It’s pretty much across the board,” according to Kennedy.
The Nebraska Department of Labor reports the state unemployment rate had held steady at 2.9%.
Nonfarm employment topped one million in October, up more than 12,000 compare to a year ago. The sectors of the economy seeing the strongest growth so far this year were education and health services, financial activities, and other services. Trade, transportation and utilities had the strongest growth in October, adding more than 3,600 jobs.
Kennedy says once a Nebraska business recruits the right people, it must work to keep them.
“That’s another part of the challenge. We educate them, get them prepared for the workforce, and then we aren’t able to keep them here in Nebraska in some cases.”
Kennedy says Nebraska will need constant, vigilant work to recruit and retain the workforce business needs.