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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts: Nebraska’s Employment Now above Pre-Pandemic Levels

Media Contacts:  

Alex Reuss, 402-471-1970

Justin Pinkerman, 402-471-1967


Media Release:

Gov. Ricketts: Nebraska’s Employment Now above Pre-Pandemic Levels


LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that Nebraska’s employment grew by more than 12,000 people from January 2020 to January 2022.


“Throughout the pandemic, we slowed the spread of the virus while allowing people to lead a more normal life,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “We avoided using the heavy hand of government to impose lockdowns, statewide mask mandates, or vaccine passports.  This gave businesses the freedom to stay open and serve their customers.  Recent labor numbers prove that this approach has worked.  There are now 12,000 more Nebraskans employed in our workforce than there were in January 2020—before the pandemic began.  Thanks to the hard work of Nebraskans, we’ve successfully grown our state despite facing the greatest public health emergency of the past century.”


On March 14th, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued state unemployment rates for January 2022.  This month, the BLS also released revised employment data for all states going back to January 2017.  After the revision, Nebraska’s preliminary unemployment rate for January 2022 is the lowest in state history.  At 2.2%, it remains the lowest in the nation.


Nebraska’s Employment Statistics for January 2022 (Preliminary)

  • Unemployment Rate: 2.2%
    • #1 in the nation (tied with Utah)
    • Lowest unemployment rate in Nebraska’s history
      • NOTE: In March 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics significantly revised previously released employment data for all states. This included monthly unemployment rates, which the BLS had initially reported as being under 2% in Nebraska for many prior months.
  • Labor Force Participation: 69.7%
    • #1 in the nation
  • Employment-to-Population Ratio: 68.2%
    • #1 in the nation
    • Is 1.5% higher than second-highest state (North Dakota 66.7%).


Comparison: January 2020 (pre-pandemic) to January 2022

  • Employment
    • January 2020: 1,020,813
    • January 2022: 1,032,820
      • Increase of 12,007
  • Unemployment rate
    • January 2020: 3.0%
    • January 2022: 2.2%
  • Manufacturing employment
    • At 101,300, manufacturing employment in Nebraska is now at its highest point since August 2008
    • It’s up 1,800 from January 2020 when 99,500 Nebraskans were employed in manufacturing