Nebraska’s unemployment rate is too low

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Nebraska’s unemployment rate is lower now than it was before the pandemic.

Both Lincoln and the state of Nebraska are at 2.1% unemployment.

Bharat Ramamurti, the deputy director of the National Economic Council, said this is great news for people who are looking for a job.

“What we are seeing in Lincoln is actually part of a nationwide recovery and an extremely strong labor market, meaning it’s a great time for Americans to find work and find a good-paying job,” Ramamurti said.

Zoe Olson, executive director of the Nebraska Hospitality Association, said that while low unemployment is good in theory, there are disadvantages, especially for small businesses.

“Nebraska’s unemployment rate has been either the lowest or the second lowest in the nation for over two years now,” she said. “What that means is that we simply do not have enough people to fill the jobs.”

Olson said the hotel and restaurant industries have suffered in the last couple years because they can’t get workers.

She said many businesses have increased their pay to entice people to apply.

“We know it’s not a matter of wages because you can drive around and look at help wanted signs, and you’ll see that restaurants and hotels are hiring people at $15 to $20 to start,” Olson said.

Ramamurti agreed that the unemployment rates need to even out for a while.

“The president has said that we need to transition from the extremely fast recovery that we’ve seen in the last 18 months into a period where we have stable and steady growth,” he said.

According to the Nebraska Department of Labor, there are over 51,000 job openings in the state but less than 22,000 candidates.

Most sources agree that the ideal unemployment rate is between 4% and 6% to keep a balance between job openings and available workers.

Olson said right now, there’s not much anyone can do to raise the unemployment rate to meet that threshold.

“It’s just an adjustment, and people need to have some perspective on that, and say, ‘Yes we’ve gone through a tough time in this country and across the world,’ ” she said. “You probably need to get used to it.”

Categories: Money, Nebraska News, News, Top Stories