Central Nebraska Labor Availability Reports Released

Release Date: 10/23/2023

LINCOLN – NDOL has compiled survey data from households and businesses to produce Labor Availability and Hiring Needs Reports for Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, and Lexington.  The reports cover responses from portions of 13 counties, over 1,200 businesses, and over 1,400 households. The survey area population in total includes over 155,000 adults and an estimated total labor force of over 111,000. Reports on the survey findings are available at NEworks.nebraska.gov. An article covering findings on multiple job holders in all 2023 survey areas is featured in the current issue of Nebraska Workforce Trends.

Job Seeker Findings

  • The surveys found an estimated 58,921 potential job seekers 18 and older in the survey areas. 
  • Salary, along with job security and stability, were the factors most important to potential job seekers when considering new employment.  Company values, paid vacation, paid sick leave, and retirement benefits were also highly ranked.  Level of responsibility ranked higher in the Lexington survey area compared to the other areas.
  • Most employed potential job seekers listed security and stability, work schedule, using their existing skills, opportunities to learn new skills, and commute time, as the top factors that lead to job satisfaction.  Benefits ranked higher among Grand Island potential job seekers compared to the other survey areas.
  • Potential job seekers reported inadequate pay and benefits offered at local area employers, lack of job opportunities in the area, work schedule flexibility, and required relocation as obstacles to employment.

Employer Findings

  • Survey respondents listed construction, accommodation and food service, wholesale trade, health care and social assistance, and transportation and warehousing as the industries with the most difficulty hiring workers.  Difficulty hiring in agriculture was most prevalent in Kearney and Lexington, while difficulty in hiring in finance and insurance was reported more often by Grand Island employers.
  • The percentage of frequently hired jobs reported as difficult to fill ranged from 79 percent in Kearney and Hastings to 85 percent in the Lexington area.
  • By far the most common reason for hiring difficulty cited by employees was a lack of applicants (88-92% depending on the area).  Poor work history, lack of work experience, and high wage demands were reasons reported by more than half of employers in each survey area.
  • The most commonly listed skill where employers said employees needed additional training was leadership. Critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork were also listed. More Lexington employers noted working independently as an area for additional training.
  • More than 80 percent of businesses in all areas surveyed indicated that they increased pay to expand their candidate pool, with Grand Island having the highest percentage at 92 percent of employers.  Other measures taken by employers included increasing benefits and reducing work experience requirements, among others.

Questions about the survey findings may be directed to lmi_ne@nebraska.gov.

NDOL press releases are accessible at dol.nebraska.gov.