LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts, the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL), and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) announced Nebraska’s non-farm job count averaged 1 million in 2015 for the first time ever. At a news conference this morning, the Governor and state agency directors were joined by business leaders to highlight the milestone, and lay out key principles and strategies for continued economic growth.
“Nebraska’s diverse group of industries helped drive this historic employment level in our state,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “This didn’t happen overnight and it came through a lot of hard work and leadership from many across the state. As we continue to work together to grow Nebraska, my administration is focused on supporting the efforts of job creators by lowering the tax burden, controlling spending, and making government more customer-friendly so we can get government out of the way.”
At the news conference, Governor Ricketts noted that Nebraska had earned high marks for its business-friendly climate over the last year from respected organizations. These rankings include:
- 3rd Best State for Business (Forbes 2015)
- 7th America’s Top States for Business (CNBC 2015)
On July 12, 2016, Governor Ricketts and DED will host the first annual Governor’s Summit on Economic Development. The summit will focus on a study by SRI International of the state’s existing economic development programs. Interested individuals can learn more about the upcoming summit here.
“Today’s great news about Nebraska’s jobs milestone is tremendously encouraging and a sign of excellent things to come for our quality workforce,” said DED Director Courtney Dentlinger. “As I travel around the state, it is encouraging for me to hear from the business community how changes in state government are helping them conduct business more smoothly and with greater ease. I look forward to working with Governor Ricketts to build on these successes, and work to develop new, data-driven economic development strategies.”
The Governor, agency directors, and business leaders at the news conference highlighted several initiatives from the first year of the Governor’s administration aimed at making government more customer and business-friendly. These initiatives include:
- Trade Missions – Governor Ricketts has led two overseas trade missions, one to the European Union and one to Asia. Representatives from Nebraska businesses joined these trade missions. In November, the Governor will be leading a trade mission to China.
- Online Permitting – The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality launched online permitting for a number of environmental quality permits used by businesses. The agency has reduced the amount of time it takes to deliver certain permits from months and weeks to a single day.
- Regulatory Pushback – The Governor has been an outspoken advocate for Nebraska’s job creators and taxpayers on a variety of regulatory issues that pose a threat to our state’s top industries. The Governor has led efforts to push back on the Obama Administration’s attempts to implement the Waters of the U.S. rule, roll out the Clean Power Plan, and cut the Renewable Fuel Standard.
- Infrastructure & Roads – This year, the Governor championed the Transportation Innovation Act, which was hailed as historic and a “big win” by a Nebraska business leader. This new infusion of funding to accelerate express construction moved Nebraska’s roads funding above previous historic highs.
The Governor and other news conference attendees highlighted key principles and strategies for encouraging continued job creation and economic growth in the coming years. Highlights include:
- Spending Control – To get tax relief, the state must continue to control spending at the state and local level. This past year, the Governor worked with the Legislature to hold the rate of growth in state spending to 3.6 percent, or about half of the last biennium.
- Tax Relief – Nebraska is a high tax state, and must continue to work towards providing additional property and income tax relief in the coming years. The Tax Foundation ranks Nebraska 26th highest for income tax and 12th highest for property tax.
- Value-Added Ag – Even as commodity prices have dropped, we can help our young producers build a diverse operation. From advocating for a strong Renewable Fuel Standard to encouraging investments like Costco’s chicken plant, Nebraska must continue to advocate for value-added agriculture opportunities.
- Reemployment Plan – Last year, the Governor and NDOL announced the transformation of Nebraska’s unemployment program into a reemployment program to help jobseekers reenter the workforce more quickly and employers identify talent.
GOVERNOR UNVEILS VIDEO HIGHLIGHTING REEMPLOYMENT SUCCESS
CLICK TO WATCH: Nebraskans tout reemployment plan successes.
At the news conference, Marriott joined the Governor and NDOL to discuss their experience with Nebraska’s first-in-the-nation reemployment program. The Governor unveiled a new video highlighting the program’s successes from both the job creator and employee perspective.
“One of the ways that Nebraska works to maintain high employment levels is by assisting unemployed workers in becoming reemployed as quickly as possible,” said Labor Commissioner John Albin. “It’s been exciting to see the success stories resulting from this program. They include an insurance professional who found a new opportunity in Omaha, a nurse who became reemployed in Schuyler, and a military veteran laid off after 19 years who was hired by a technology company while he earns his degree. The reemployment program is working for Nebraskans, and other states are taking notice.”
In the past year, Marriott began using Nebraska’s reemployment program to identify talent for their team, including 27 employees who successfully completed the state’s reemployment program. Marriott leadership and one of their newly hired professionals shared their experience.
“Marriott has a history of inclusive hiring practices for qualified applicants, including those with varying levels of abilities and the long-term unemployed,” said Marriott Director of Human Resources Chris Dunn. “Nebraska’s reemployment training program boosted these applicant’s employability skills and gave them the confidence to believe they had the ability to be successful in a home-based working environment.”
“I had been out of the workforce for quite a while when I got started with the reemployment program. I had a son with a lot of medical issues and I had to find a position that allowed me to still be a parent first,” said Marriott Reservation Sales Specialist Jacqueline Smith. “I can remember the day very clearly when I got the call about the Marriott position. I was very excited because I was convinced that it was going to be a very long process. The position ended up being perfect for me.”
For more information about Nebraska’s reemployment program, visit https://dol.nebraska.gov/.
2015 JOB MARKET BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Nebraska’s non-farm job count for 2015 was 1,006,283, marking the first time the annual average has reached 1 million. The Department of Labor’s Current Employment Statistics program provides the monthly and annual averages for each of the state’s major industries.
Private industries with the highest employment levels in 2015 were trade, transportation, and utilities (206,724); education and health services (149,353); and professional and business services (117,234).
The health care and social assistance sector of the educational and health services industry had the highest employment level of all private employment sectors at 131,190, representing an increase of 977 jobs over the year.
The total yearly average job count grew by 13,434 over 2014. Private industries with the most growth over the year were professional and business services (up 3,892); construction (up 2,591); and trade, transportation and utilities (up 2,487).
For more employment information from the Current Employment Statistics program and an interactive version of the table below, go to NEworks.nebraska.gov and click on Labor Market Analysis. On the left navigation panel under Data Trends, select Employment and Wage Data, then Industry Data, Current Employment Statistics.