Nov 21, 2021 - Economy & Business

Nebraska records lowest unemployment rate in U.S. history

A ''Now Hiring" sign hangs above the entrance to a McDonald's restaurant on Novembe
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Nebraska's unemployment rate fell to 1.9% last month — the lowest for any state since data collection began in 1976, AP reports.

The big picture: The number is in sharp contrast with the national, seasonally adjusted rate of 4.6% in October. Nebraska had maintained the lowest unemployment rate among the states throughout the pandemic.

  • The rate represents the first time any state's jobless numbers have fallen below 2%, per AP. The unemployment rate in the state capital of Lincoln was even lower at 1.3%.

Yes, but: Nebraska has had a labor shortage since even before the pandemic, per AP. It has driven up wages and made it difficult for employers to hire and expand.

  • Rural states typically have lower unemployment rates for many reasons, namely because they offer more jobs with ties to agriculture and food production, AP notes.

What's happening: Eric Thompson, an economics professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, told The Wall Street Journal the state's strong high-school graduation rate helps.

  • "More educated workers ... are just less likely to be laid off and more likely to find work quickly," he said.
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