There are over 300,000 potential job seekers in the Omaha area according to a labor availability survey released today by the Nebraska Departments of Economic Development and Labor. The survey asked residents in and around the city whether they were actively looking for work or would accept new employment if a suitable job presents itself.
“Employers may be encouraged that even with the low unemployment rate, Omaha has a large pool of potential employees in the immediate area,” said Commissioner of Labor John H. Albin.
A third of potential job seekers said they were actively looking for a new job. Among all potential job seekers, including those who said they were not actively looking, the majority said they were currently employed. Others indicated they were out of work or seeking to reenter the workforce after time spent in retirement or homemaking.
The median wage sought by potential job seekers was a minimum of $41,600 annually, or $20 an hour for full-time, year-round work. Nearly all (97%) potential job seekers stated that they were willing to commute 15 minutes or more each way for suitable work. The median tenure of employed potential job seekers at their current job was five years.
Potential job seekers identified salary, use of skills they already possessed, and a schedule that fit their needs as the most important factors in improving their employment situation. They named inadequate pay offered by area employers, lack of job opportunities in the area, and inadequate benefits offered by area employers as the most common barriers to improving their employment situation.
“Talent engagement is key in retaining and recruiting the workforce our region needs to grow,” said Randy Thelen, senior vice president, Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership. “The Partnership is committed to bringing high quality and high paying jobs to the region.”
More than half of potential job seekers said they have at least a bachelor’s degree. Among those who reported that lack of education was an obstacle that would prevent them from changing jobs or reentering the workforce, 73 percent said they would be willing to complete a certificate or degree in order to improve their employment situation.
Labor availability studies of Lincoln and northeast Nebraska were previously released. The Lincoln study found an estimated 247,692 potential jobseekers, while the northeast study revealed approximately 116,550 potential job seekers in Columbus, Fremont, Norfolk, South Sioux City, West Point, and Wayne.
The studies were commissioned by the Nebraska 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 each survey report can be obtained at neworks.nebraska.gov under the Labor Market Information Publications link.
Department of Labor news releases are accessible on the internet at dol.nebraska.gov.