Free Enterprise Staff  | August 5, 2015

Looking for a Job? This City Has a 2.6% Unemployment Rate

This month, our ongoing #SiliconCitiesUSA series brings us to Lincoln, Nebraska. What makes the city special? You can start with its unemployment rate, which sits at a remarkably low 2.6%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Much like other cities we’ve highlighted this year—a group that includes Des Moines and Sioux Falls—Lincoln has long taken a moderate, restrained approach to its economy. This kind of thoughtfulness helped Lincoln avoid the housing bubble that crippled so many other cities. With an outsized share of its population graduating from high school and college, Lincoln also has an educated population that other cities envy.

Diversity is what underpins the Lincoln metropolitan area. There’s not one single industry that dominates the business landscape, with construction, agriculture, healthcare, and education all enjoying a strong presence in the region. As in other successful cities, government and business often work together in Lincoln to stoke future growth, collaborating on substantial initiatives aimed at generating jobs.

This sort of balanced approach has been so successful that Lincoln has an altogether unique problem: Many employers are struggling to fill vacant jobs. It’s something that has affected manufacturers, who rely on skilled technicians to operate state-of-the-art plants. On this front, manufacturers across the state have come together to form Dream It Do It project, which is using a multi-faceted strategy that combines education and outreach to help raise awareness of the advanced manufacturing and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) sectors.

What makes Lincoln so successful, and what else is the city doing to address discrepancies in its labor market? These are some of the questions we’ll be exploring throughout the month.

What is #SiliconCitiesUSA?

Over the course of this year, we’re exploring how entrepreneurs and businesses are faring in non-major U.S. cities, beginning with Des Moines, Iowa. We’ll be reporting on the ground from each city, talking with elected officials and business leaders about how they’re harnessing their unique resources and local talent to fuel economic growth and better compete against more established urban centers like San Francisco and New York City.