The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its “State Employment and Unemployment” report for December 2020. The national rate for the month was 6.7%. That was the same as in November, but 3.1% higher than in December 2019. That means last year’s national figure was only 3.6%, the lowest in nearly half a century. One state had an employment rate of only 3% last month, much better than the national rate, even when it was at its lowest last year.
Across the 50 states last month, the unemployment rate rose in 15 states, fell in 11, and was about the same as in November in the balance. Compared to the national figure, BLS experts made the following comment:
In total, 25 states had jobless rates lower than the U.S. figure of 6.7 percent, 10 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 15 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.
The number in Nebraska was only 3%. At the far end of the spectrum, unemployment in Hawaii was 9.3%.
Nebraska has several advantages. Among them is that it has a well-educated population. Over 91% of people over 25 have a high school education. Over 32% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. People with strong eductions tend to be employed more often than people who do not. The poverty rate in Nebraska is 9.9%, which is below the national average. Those who live in poverty are less likely to be employed.
Nebraska is fortunate to be home to the headquarters or large operations of some of America’s most successful companies. Its largest employer is Warren Buffett’s, Berkshire Hathaway. It employs 390,000 people. Huge railroad Union Pacific employs 42,000.
Nebraska is also home to some of America’s most successful financial firms. Insurer Mutual of Omaha employs 6,300 people. Discount broker TD Ameritrade employs 6,300. And, First National of Nebraska employs 6,200.
The state is also a large employer. Nebraska.gov employs 4,000 people. The State of Nebraska employs almost the same number.
While most states have experienced a drop in the number of people they employ, the figure in Nebraska has barely changed since December 2019. It is down only 24,100 to 1,009,800.
The makeup of the population and the state of Nebraska’s largest employers are such that its low jobless rate compared to the balance of America, is not likely to change.