Panhandle Labor Availability Reports Released

Release Date: 6/10/2024

Labor Availability and Hiring Needs Reports for Scottsbluff, Sidney, Alliance, and Chadron are now available at

The reports cover responses from 11 counties, 390 businesses, and over 1,200 households on topics including hiring difficulty, barriers to employment, job openings, and important factors when seeking employment. The survey area population total includes over 63,000 adults and an estimated total labor force of over 41,000.

Job Seeker Findings

  • The surveys found an estimated 19,695 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, retirement benefits, and paid sick leave were also highly ranked. 
  • Most employed potential job seekers listed commute time, work schedule, security and stability, and using their existing skills as the top factors that lead to job satisfaction. 
  • Potential job seekers reported inadequate pay and benefits, lack of job opportunities in the area, and work schedule flexibility as obstacles to employment.

Employer Findings

  • Survey respondents listed professional, scientific, and technical services; health care and social assistance; construction; and agriculture as the industries with the most difficulty hiring workers.  Difficulty hiring in professional, scientific, and technical services industries was notable in that 100% of related businesses in all four areas reported difficulty hiring.
  • The percentage of frequently hired jobs reported as difficult to fill ranged from 84 percent in Scottsbluff to 91 percent in the Alliance area.
  • By far the most common reason for hiring difficulty cited by employees was a lack of applicants (82-95% depending on the area). Poor work history and lack of work experience were reasons reported by at least 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 Alliance employers noted advanced computer skills as an area for additional training.
  • Between 78 and 88 percent of businesses in all areas surveyed indicated that they increased pay to expand their candidate pool. More than 42 percent of businesses in Alliance and Chadron reported hiring interns/temporary workers to address difficulty hiring. Other measures taken by employers included increasing benefits and reducing work experience requirements, among others.

Questions about the survey findings may be directed to

NDOL press releases are accessible at