Nebraska working toward economic recovery from COVID-19

Nebraska's economy is working to get back to normal.
Nebraska's economy is working to get back to normal.(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Jun. 11, 2020 at 7:32 PM CDT
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The Department of Labor says the US gained 2.5 million jobs in May, but lost 44 million jobs since March.

The nationwide unemployment rate is at 13.3 percent, but Nebraska's is almost half that, and should continue to drop.

Certainly Nebraskans are feeling the economic impacts of COVID-19.

But as a state-- economists think Nebraska is weathering the pandemic well. With an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent-- they say-- we are on our way to recovery.

The latest economic forecast from Dr. Eric Thomspon-- an economist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, shows 2020 as a year of decline.

"We're predicting that for the year as a whole, obviously it's worse now than it will be in November, December, but 2.4 percent fewer jobs in Nebraska than last year," said Dr. Thompson. "But, we think we'll get all of that back."

More than 137,000 Nebraskan's have filed for unemployment since March, that's three times the number of a typical year.

About 87,000 are still unemployed. During the first week of June, the state paid out $63 million in unemployment claims.

"Recessions don't treat people equally," said Dr. Thompson. "The people who lose their jobs, or business are bearing the brunt of the economic costs, that makes it more heartbreaking than if we all just lost a same percentage of income."

A large reason behind Nebraska faring so well-- our heavy reliance on manufacturing and agriculture, which are globally essential.

"The economic impact of COVID-19 on a Nebraska economy has not been as large as the nation as a whole," said Dr. Thompson. "A big part of the reason for that is that more of our economy is in sectors that are necessary, the demand stays steady even in a recession."

Although many larger outdoor events are now postponed, or changed, Dr. Thompson said Nebraska will be alright.

"Those are big and significant losses, but as a share of our economy, won't have as big an impact."

Despite all the good signs locally-- a global recession in the middle of a health crisis-- is still a recession. Dr. Thompson said recovery will only come if Nebraskans can find the right balance for reopening.

"How quickly will they return to their consumption patterns, as well as the strength of business, to have the resources they need to employ people," said Dr. Thompson.