Harry’s Wonder Bar is a reliable old-fashioned bathhouse in Nebraska’s capital, often frequented by office clerks, construction workers and graduate students: a wooden table with a back table where phones are often in the pockets, a second joke to talk ordinary. , and cups of beer come cold regardless of the weather.
About half an hour of fun or a happy hour gathered in the yard recently, many had a similarity: Everyone seemed to know someone who received a lot of money, or several promotions last year – and many, if not all, received a jump in pay alone.
This included a late-night bartender, Nikki Paulk, a relaxed woman with pink hair. “I’m so wanted, baby,” she said, calling her co-workers “desperate” angrily. “I’ve been working like six bars in the last six months because I just get the best that I can’t deny.”
The unemployment rate in Nebraska was 2.1 percent in February, tied by Utah to the lowest in the nation and close to the lowest in the history of each country. In several states, unemployment is less than 1 percent. Even considering the retirement age, the proportion of 16- and older people working in Nebraska is about 68 percent, the highest in the country.
After decades of wage and financial decline, power between managers and their employees seems to be on the move for a while, with some employers competing with workers instead of the alternative. Unemployment in states including Indiana, Kansas, Montana and Oklahoma is as low as in Nebraska, measuring the benefits and potential economic benefits of having the cheapest markets.
Ms. Paulk, 35, graduated from college with a degree in graphic design during the Great Recession, when jobs were scarce. He recalls that he worked 60 hours a week for a pittance in Illinois, “happy to get a quarter of a quarter of a pittance” that would go to the laundry. In 2013, she moved to Nebraska and worked as a medical registrar for $ 12 an hour.
He started selling bartending in 2018, and since then, he says, his total pay exceeds $ 25 (and sometimes $ 30) per hour, plus instructions.
The national unemployment rate in March was 3.6 percent, almost a return to the prepandemic standards of the lowest century. The sharp decline in unemployment in Nebraska is due to the high number of high school graduates, as well as a large proportion of industries such as manufacturing and agriculture that are relatively stable compared to the labor or energy sector during the fall. Despite the peak of the Covid-19 shutdown in 2020, government unemployment was 7.4 percent, half the national average.
But the labor market in Nebraska can also be a global commemoration. Many economists expect unemployment to continue to decline this year. The job opening is very close, and the number of unemployed people in January was lower than last year in 388 of the 389 areas surveyed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Many business experts say that if the job is still low, wages will increase exponentially and employers will simply increase their income for consumers. At least for now, the evidence for such an increase is limited: The Federal Reserve data shows that the average rate increase for the middle class is 3 – 7 percent – which lasted from the 1980s until the economic collapse of 2007-9.
The Fed, which is still concerned, has begun raising interest rates to reduce inflation and reduce inflation. The crisis experienced during the epidemic continues, and the war in Ukraine is increasingly disrupting economic growth and economic growth. Consumer spending remains high, however research shows economic inclination among people.
In the meantime, despite the rising cost of housing, the cost of additional new services, the growing number of employees and job seekers is increasing in quality and quality.
At a local economics conference held in February by the non-profit organization Lincoln Leadership, Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said the labor market could resume.
“Obviously, it would always be better to be an employer than an employee, or often,” he said. But what is happening today has caused some employees to switch jobs or pursue higher positions. Local employers are lowering the degree requirements for middle and post office positions.
Many fast food restaurants, struggling to work for around $ 9 less than the state, have started paying $ 14. Evidence of self-propelled machinery is as widespread as Help Requirements: Some drug stores with highways and highways appear to have more readable space than operators at a given hour.
Mr Thompson said such a move was not a threat to employees but highlighted the need for businesses to change as employees find jobs that can “enhance their skills and abilities.”
Tony Goins, former vice-president at JPMorgan Chase nominated by Gov. Pete Ricketts in 2019 as director of Nebraska’s department of Economic Development, said a stable labor market could make managers more flexible and creative.
“At the end of the day, the market tells me I have to pay the workers a lot of money,” said Mr. Goins, a small business owner who owns a cigar room in Lincoln. “Then I mean, how are you going to do this?” In order to remain competitive in the recruitment process, he said, managers need to improve culture, leadership, retain staff and recruit people.
He spoke of his son, a men’s basketball assistant at Boston College – a position he said needed to keep preaching and the two promises of “a chance to play a successful program” and achieve development. “That’s not what CEOs are used to,” he said.
Businesses that want to grow are starting to offer incentives beyond pay. Japanese company Kawasaki Motors is spending $ 200 million to develop a 2.4-million-square-foot area north of Lincoln that manufactures Jet Skis, all kinds of vehicles and locomotives. It adds an additional 2,400 workers and more than 500 employees, who are engaged in manufacturing, welding and construction jobs.
The company is becoming more flexible in terms of recruitment and working styles to get rid of it. “It took a couple of weeks to get a job in Kawasaki,” says Bryan Seck, their chief talent officer at Lincoln. “Now, it’s down to four hours.”
Recognizing that many parents remain on the side of staff due to childcare, Kawasaki recently made the change from 9 am to 2 pm for those who need to send their children back to school and take care of them during the day. The starting fee is $ 18.10 per hour, Mr. Seck said, with benefits including health care and the 401 (k) policy.
In addition to increasing payroll retention, Todd Heyne, head of construction at Allo Communications, a Lincoln-based power company, said managers felt that reducing the need for private work could increase the number of existing employees. This allowed the company to allow more customer representatives and artisans to train and work remotely as they plan to expand beyond Nebraska and Colorado.
Solving all problems is not easy. Increased staff costs come on top of the crisis which has increased the cost of essential components such as fiber optic cable by 30 percent. Vendors often pay an additional 20 percent for their services. As a result, the company has taken action as a loan to its employees who drive cars.
In the end, “in combination with other self-service systems, our team will see a significant increase in pay and fewer jobs,” said Mr. Heyne, reducing manual manipulation, integrating past systems and doing more to address customer issues at a distance. That is why despite the invaluable challenges, “I have never had so much optimism about where we live, our place in the market, how we compete with our competitors, and our expertise,” he added. “That’s strange.”
For many, the prospect of living in a financially prosperous world is a nightmare. Includes Ashlee Bridger, a 30-year-old student on the Lincoln campus of Southeast Community College who works as a supervisor of the nearby Huffman Engineering company after being hired.
Ms. Bridger quit her job as a nurse to start a charity project because she was confident that she could bet on her own: “True, it was dangerous. Quitting any job is easy.”
He has also had a list of the most important events in life. He will complete his studies in May with an associate degree and will begin his undergraduate career at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Huffman’s bosses have told him he is welcome to continue working there if his time allows, and they want to hire him after his graduation.
Last year, she was married in the summer, and later moved with her husband to a newly built house in Lincoln in August. Although he felt financially secure, he laughed casually that he was lucky that the house was built of wood before the prices went up. With prices soaring now, “I’m very careful and spend money,” he said.
Paulk’s wife, who works as a bartender at Harry’s profitable salary, has friends and clients who are frustrated with the recent rise in prices. “But there is something wrong with us,” he said loudly.
“As far as I know,” he added, “now I’m not broken – it’s fine. Life is good.”