Employer challenges could see relief in coming months
OMAHA, Neb., November 10, 2021 – Data released today at the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Economic Outlook forum projects a potential easing of Omaha’s tight labor market. The report shared by Dr. Eric Thompson of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln showed that up to half of the workers who fell out of the labor market during the COVID-19 pandemic could return in the next year. That would provide an influx of more than 6,000 workers into the Greater Omaha area over at 12-month period.
“We might not reach the levels of labor force participation we saw pre-pandemic,” said Dr. Thompson, “but with population growth and continued recovery, we could see a nice expansion of the workforce and a drop in unemployment insurance claims.”
Omaha’s unemployment continues to fall to record levels, with September data showing a 2.1% unemployment rate in the region. While this is good news for people in the job market, it makes filling open positions difficult for employers looking to grow and expand to meet demand. The projected 6,000 person expansion of the labor force would continue to ease that tension. That’s good news for a region that has already added more than 11,000 workers in 2021 than it had in 2020.
“What we have to do is continue to build pipelines between the employers and the available workforce,” said Ana Lopez Shalla, senior director of workforce development with the Greater Omaha Chamber. “We are working to increase access to these employment opportunities for everyone in our community who wants to go to work. This means focusing on internships, on-the-job training, diversity and inclusion initiatives and other programs that open the doors of prosperity for everyone.”