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Thread summary:

Nebraska short on labor, Custer County thriving job market, Nebraska strong entrepreneurial spirit, agriculture economic growth, string non-farm employment

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Old 10-01-2008, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Omaha, NE
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Initially it is about Broken Bow, but it goes into more details about how the entire state is needing people to fill many open positions.

Modcut- edited for copyright issue.

Link to story: http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_pag...u_sid=10447314

Last edited by GraniteStater; 10-02-2008 at 02:50 PM..
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Old 10-01-2008, 06:11 PM
 
Location: Central Nebraska
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You know with the problems all over the country, this might turn out to be a nice problem to have.
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Old 10-01-2008, 06:29 PM
 
Location: IN
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Yes, I am a data nut and have noticed a resurgance in economic growth in many rural counties in Nebraska. What has been the success driver behind all of this growth in rural areas? I know Kansas has had some issues with economic decline in a number of rural counties there.

I think the BIG hurdle to overcome is attracting people to a relatively "isolated area" overall. Custer County is classified as a "frontier county" with fewer than 7 people per square mile. The abundance of jobs is a blessing, but I have huge doubts that it will stem the tide of younger residents moving to larger metro areas that have an even greater diverse range of job offerings.
Here are the demographics via the Census Bureau for Custer County:
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/31/31041.html
The population of the county declined 4.7% between 2000 and 2006 while non-farm employment increased 6.5% between 2000 and 2005 according to the most recent data available.

Also I found this interesting: If you draw a straight line through Nebraska stretching from Knox County all the way south to Nuckolis County you will notice a trend in the data. West of this area, most of the counties are growing economically, and east of that line it is more split between counties with positive/negative growth between 2000-2005.
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/maps/nebraska_map.html

Broken Bow should try to recruit and lure some people from the Midwest (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, etc) to come on out to the Great Plains

Last edited by GraniteStater; 10-01-2008 at 06:46 PM..
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Old 10-02-2008, 09:59 AM
 
Location: IN
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Could you provide the link to this article? I think copy/pasting the entire thing is copyright issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ehenningsen View Post
Initially it is about Broken Bow, but it goes into more details about how the entire state is needing people to fill many open positions.

Broken Bow pep rally aims to attract more workers
BY PAUL HAMMEL
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

BROKEN BOW, Neb. — The high school marching band played, cheerleaders waved pompoms and the choir sang on the town square Tuesday.

The occasion wasn't a homecoming football game but a more serious local issue — a lack of people.

This central Nebraska ranching town, population 3,400, has seen growth in businesses the past few years, but with it has come an increase in "help wanted" signs.

The result is that about three dozen jobs, some paying $40,000 to $50,000, have gone unfilled.

It prompted town leaders to organize a community pep rally, complete with a visit from Gov. Dave Heineman, to drum up interest in relocating to Broken Bow to take jobs as welders, fabricators, information technology managers and physical therapists.

While the rest of the nation might be struggling with economic woes, Broken Bow has an abundance of jobs and growing businesses, said Doug Campbell, president of the Custer County Economic Development Corp.

"We just need more people," Campbell said.

Broken Bow, which is about 70 miles northwest of Kearney, is far from alone.

Nebraska as a whole and rural towns in particular have struggled to attract workers in recent years, particularly those with technical skills, said Phil Baker, a labor market information administrator with the Nebraska Department of Labor.

The number of vacant jobs in the state stood at 38,513 or 4.4 percent of all jobs at the end of 2007, an increase of more than 10,000 vacant jobs over the previous year, according to a survey conducted by the State Labor Department.

Baker said such numbers indicate that the state's economy is growing, which is a good thing, but also indicates that the state's job growth is outpacing its available local labor force.

The problem appears worst in careers such as health care and computers, according to the state labor survey, and in the rural western half of Nebraska, where the job vacancy rate was 7.2 percent.

That isn't news to Bob Allen, who owns implement dealerships in Ainsworth, Ord, O'Neill and Broken Bow. Allen said he has gone as far away as Michigan and Mississippi in recent months to hire computer-savvy mechanic technicians who can diagnose and fix problems with combines, tractors and other farm implements.

"We scrounge all over," Allen said. "It's just been terribly difficult to hire good, qualified people. I could hire six more technicians today."

Such jobs pay about $42,000 a year, he said, adding that his company has a program to pay the technical college tuition of local students who will study for such jobs.

You get lots of answers when you ask why workers are reluctant to relocate to rural areas. The lifestyle is slower, and the distance to shopping malls and concert halls is greater.

Allen said it isn't hard to persuade a man to move to Broken Bow, because of the area's excellent hunting and fishing. But his wife, Allen and others said, might not want to live so far from a mall — about 70 miles away in Kearney — and might not find the kind of job she wants.

So Broken Bow held the pep rally to highlight the improved amenities in the community. They include two new subdivisions of homes, a program to build more rental housing, a new sports complex, a hospital that is expanding and a handful of nice eateries, including an elegant coffee shop and a quaint ice cream parlor that would be at home in Omaha's Old Market.

Heineman, who has expressed past concerns about the state's labor needs, focused on the positive in his short speech. Forty states are in recession, he said, but not Nebraska, thanks to business growth in places like Broken Bow.

"Our state is growing and prospering," the governor said to about 400 people gathered at the "pride" rally.

But the town, like several rural communities, has "a problem to fix," said Broken Bow Mayor Mac McMeen in comments before the rally. That, he said, is to persuade more people to relocate to Broken Bow and persuade more local youths to stay and raise families.

The community is planning a job fair next spring in hopes of attracting more people to fill the vacant jobs, he said, and local businesses are working with high school students to highlight the training needed for the jobs available in town.

"If we don't solve this, we'll turn around and go backwards," McMeen said.
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Central Nebraska
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Here ya go:
Omaha.com Money Section

I wonder if some of the growth you found is because its going to be a good ag year.
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:52 PM
 
Location: IN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpabes View Post
Here ya go:
Omaha.com Money Section

I wonder if some of the growth you found is because its going to be a good ag year.

1) I think ag growth is one of the reasons.
2) I think Nebraska is strong in terms of entrepreneurship
3) I think the state has realized economic growth should in rural areas should be a priority and the non-farm employment growth between 2000-2005 proves that point.
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Old 10-05-2008, 12:33 PM
 
Location: IN
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I think it is hard for ANY community to attract new residents if the location is further than 50 miles from an Interstate highway. The fact is that the majority of the larger towns and cities in the Midwest and Plains are located fairly close to an Interstate Highway, major river, or lake.
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Old 10-11-2008, 07:09 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
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Hi, Ya'll!
I've been working VERY hard on our new NE place and haven't dropped in for awhile.
I have been meeting with our County Eco Dev Board, and there IS a big push for businesses here, sponsored by the State Eco Dev. Low interest loans and grants are available.

I have to say that I got a job with the school district fairly quickly as a secretary. Computer knowedge and key speed are VERY important in an area that does not have a lot of Internet useage as yet. I've been helping some new friends to explore internet options. At work I have a new set of programs to 'play' with and they are really interesting to someone who is knowledgeable about programs and how they work. In my rural area, the Internet is VERY underused for things like online shopping (which is weird because NE doesn't charge tax on stuff you buy out of your zip code to use in another zip code!). It isn't ignorance but simply no information about all of the options available.

We have two businesses for sale in our small town; a hardware store and a propane gas/convenience store. They have been for sale for several years. Neither falls within the realm of my knowledge or experience, but someone who knew what they were doing, had good business sense and who could quickly learn the rural area and cater to its needs (instead of indulging their fantasies of what people 'should' or 'might' need) could make serious money, as the closest shopping is 40 miles away.

NE is open for business - the only problem is that most people think that NE is just corn and cattle, flat and boring. Which is kinda good, too - who wants a bunch of city people coming in and opening a Wal Mart and demanding Starbucks? ick. But for folks who want to live inexpensively and rurally, NE is heaven.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:31 AM
 
Location: Omaha, NE
1,119 posts, read 3,912,187 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCGranny View Post
Hi, Ya'll!
I've been working VERY hard on our new NE place and haven't dropped in for awhile.
I have been meeting with our County Eco Dev Board, and there IS a big push for businesses here, sponsored by the State Eco Dev. Low interest loans and grants are available.

I have to say that I got a job with the school district fairly quickly as a secretary. Computer knowedge and key speed are VERY important in an area that does not have a lot of Internet useage as yet. I've been helping some new friends to explore internet options. At work I have a new set of programs to 'play' with and they are really interesting to someone who is knowledgeable about programs and how they work. In my rural area, the Internet is VERY underused for things like online shopping (which is weird because NE doesn't charge tax on stuff you buy out of your zip code to use in another zip code!). It isn't ignorance but simply no information about all of the options available.

We have two businesses for sale in our small town; a hardware store and a propane gas/convenience store. They have been for sale for several years. Neither falls within the realm of my knowledge or experience, but someone who knew what they were doing, had good business sense and who could quickly learn the rural area and cater to its needs (instead of indulging their fantasies of what people 'should' or 'might' need) could make serious money, as the closest shopping is 40 miles away.

NE is open for business - the only problem is that most people think that NE is just corn and cattle, flat and boring. Which is kinda good, too - who wants a bunch of city people coming in and opening a Wal Mart and demanding Starbucks? ick. But for folks who want to live inexpensively and rurally, NE is heaven.

I'm glad to hear from you SC! It's been awhile and I've been wondering how you've been doing in your new place..

I too am a very technical person and am in school to be a web and database programmer..

Since I was a little kid I would read almanacs and encyclopedias about varying states and always found that 'our' state of Nebraska is better left alone by the people on the coasts and by the 'hyped-up' yo-yo's..

We don't want an entire dune to be torn down for a walmart/mcdonalds/star-bucks combo do we?

I live in Omaha currently and am loving its large-city stage with Nebraska roots which make it #2 in the entire nation for standard of living, however, I am developing an idea of where I plan to spend my retirement and it is along a river in the sandhills..

It's said by many 'There's no place like Nebraska!'
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Old 10-13-2008, 05:47 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,796,630 times
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Hi, Ehenningsen (and a shout out to tpabes)! I've missed ya'll but the house and property took a lot of work to get it ready for winter.

Y'know, we've been so busy that we have yet to leave the county to explore Omaha or even Lincoln. We made it to North Platte once. But there is just so much to do locally - not just on our own little place, but all of the get togethers and socials and of course FOOTBALL - that we have been homebodies. I haven't seen a Wendy's in months, nor a Starbucks at all. And that's the way I like it. )

I am really worried about the economy driving people to NE, though. I've seen it before - people losing jobs or working at underpaying jobs, 'discovering' a place that has jobs and low-priced property, and swooping in trying to change it to suit their needs and wants. I'm praying that the long cold winters and miles of "empty" land scares them off. As long as the view from the interstates is flat and boring, we might be safe from them. My new job doesn't have insurance (which is ok; I prefer to pay cash, it actually comes out cheaper overall) and I hear that a lot of jobs east of here don't pay insurance either. Those looking for that safety net, and hearing about the high property taxes, may be put off Nebraska by that as well. One can only hope... )
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