Nebraska's Economy Is Strong, for the Most Part

Aug. 21, 2019, 11:34 a.m. ·

The latest report from the Kansas City Fed shows, for the most part, Nebraska’s economy is strong.

Nebraska’s July unemployment rate sat at 3.1%, which is 0.6 points lower than the U.S. rate. On the weak side of the economy, exports dropped 5.1% from this time last year and the labor market wasn’t as strong either.

Nate Kauffman, economist and an executive at the Omaha branch of the Federal Reserve of Kansas City, said there’s one thing August’s Databook doesn’t tell us about the economy.

“Even though I would describe Nebraska’s economy as quite strong overall, it really is two different sorts of economies," Kauffman said. "The urban economy in Nebraska is doing well. The rural economy is struggling a bit more. Agriculture has struggled the last several years.”

Low commodity prices and reduced farm income have hurt farmers, while dwindling population from rural areas also contributed to the struggle for rural economies, Kauffman said. He also said Nebraska’s exports are down because trade negotiations continue, which hasn’t made it easy on Nebraska’s export-based economy.