Study Reveals Large Labor Pool in Northeast Nebraska

15 May 2014

State News

LINCOLN- The Nebraska Departments of Economic Development and Labor today announced findings from the Northeast Nebraska Labor Availability Study.  The study surveyed residents in and around Columbus, Fremont, Norfolk, South Sioux City, West Point, and Wayne to gauge the size of the available workforce and factors considered when choosing employment.

“When it comes to recruiting, it is important for employers to understand the size of the labor pool and what motivates employees to accept a job,” said Director of Economic Development and Commissioner of Labor Catherine D. Lang.  “Nebraska employers offer many great opportunities for those who are looking to make a change.”

Survey results show an estimated 116,500 potential job seekers among the 428,094 people 18 and older in the area surveyed, including those who are currently employed.  Survey respondents indicated that using their current skills, along with salary, work schedule, level of responsibility, and learning new skills are the most important factors in choosing new work.  If a job was available that met their most important criteria, the median minimum pay potential job seekers would require is $35,360 annually, or $17 per hour for full time year round work, according to the survey.

Most potential job seekers chose inadequate pay, benefits, hours and training as the top barriers to improving their employment situation.  The vast majority of potential job seekers indicated they are willing to commute at least 15 minutes for a new job, and many indicated they would commute 30 minutes or more.  More than 96 percent of those looking to enter or reenter the labor force said they would be willing to retrain or learn new skills. 

The study was commissioned by the Department of Economic Development and conducted by mail by the University of Nebraska – Lincoln Bureau of Sociological Research.  Data analysis and production of the final results were completed by the Nebraska Department of Labor, Office of Labor Market Information.

Copies of the reports for each community, as well as the area as a whole, can be obtained at under Publications. 



Department of Labor news releases are accessible on the internet at