From the collapse of the American jobs landscape at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when unemployment reached above 14% in April 2020, the resurgence has been nothing short of a miracle. The U.S. economy has created 20 million jobs since then, and national unemployment has been below 4% for over a year. In some pockets of the nation, the surge is even more remarkable. (These are America’s 25 thriving industries.)
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report on state employment and unemployment for April 2023, the unemployment rate nationwide was 3.3%. In one state, Nebraska, the jobless rate was only 2%. Based on the state’s modest population and the fact that some people are between jobs but will quickly have employment, virtually everyone in the state is employed.
Compared to March, jobless rates were lower in 14 states and stable in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Sixteen states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, while 10 states had increases and 24 states and the District of Columbia had little change.
Unlike Nebraska, the state with the highest jobless rate is Nevada, at 5.4%. No other state had a jobless rate in April that was above 5%.
How many people in Nebraska were out of work in April? The answer was 21,263. That is out of a civilian labor force of 1,061,392. More extraordinary still, according to the Norfolk Daily, Commissioner of Labor John H. Albin said, “the state’s labor force reached a new all-time high for the second month in a row.”
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A primary reason for the low jobless rate is the state’s exports, including soybeans and soybean products, corn, beef, pork and ethanol. There are over 40,000 farms and ranches in the state, and production from these is now at or near capacity.
Another reason for the job success in the state is the stability of the largest employers. First among these is Warren Buffett’s extraordinary Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate. It employs 360,000 people. Several financial services and tech companies are large employers as well.
Nebraska is, and will be, a prime example of what the right mix of industries can do to take a jobless rate to record lows.
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