Nebraska businesses report great difficulty in hiring, getting applicants

By: - September 14, 2022 3:00 am

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

LINCOLN — How hard is it for Nebraska companies to find workers?

Real hard, according to recent state labor report.

In surveys of businesses in the Omaha area and northeast and southeast Nebraska, up to 94% of businesses responding to a “labor availability” survey said they had hiring difficulties.

In the Omaha area, 84% of the businesses surveyed reported hiring difficulties, with the biggest problem (82.5%) being a lack of applicants.

Of the areas surveyed, Falls City, Fairbury and Nebraska City had the most trouble hiring new employees, with difficulties being reported by between 90% and 92% of all businesses.

The head of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, Bryan Slone, recently stated that with 52,000 vacant jobs in Nebraska, the lack of labor is the “number one, two, three, four and five” issues facing the state’s business community.

The survey, released last month, also found that about 50% of all businesses had used tele-work, allowing workers to work at home, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual “labor availability” report was done for the Nebraska Department of Labor.

In 2016, the Nebraska Legislature passed a law allowing the Labor Department and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development to conduct labor availability studies to determine the state’s needs and gaps in skill sets.

More than 3,000 businesses responded to the most recent survey, which focused on three regions: Southeast Nebraska (Beatrice, Fairbury, Falls City, and Nebraska City), the greater Omaha area, and northeast Nebraska (Columbus, Fremont, Norfolk, and Wayne).

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site.

Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. He started his career reporting for the Omaha Sun and later, editing the Papillion Times group in suburban Omaha. He joined the Lincoln Journal-Star as a sports enterprise reporter, and then a roving reporter covering southeast Nebraska. In 1990, he was hired by the Omaha World-Herald as a legislative reporter. Later, for 15 years, he roamed the state covering all kinds of news and feature stories. In the past decade, he served as chief of the Lincoln Bureau and enterprise reporter. Paul has won awards for reporting from Great Plains Journalism, the Associated Press, Nebraska Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation, a member of the Nebraska Hop Growers and a volunteer caretaker of Irvingdale Park in Lincoln.