Nebraska breaks own record for America’s lowest unemployment rate

Minnesota’s rate returns to pre-pandemic level, but lags neighboring states.

In data released for November, Nebraska again recorded the nation’s lowest unemployment rate since record-keeping began in 1976, at 1.8 percent. Since the start of the bicentennial year, the lowest rate ever recorded in Minnesota was 2.5 percent in February 1999.

Yesterday, unemployment figures were also released for the state of Minnesota, showing a November unemployment rate of 3.3 percent. At 3.3 percent, Minnesota is back to the pre-pandemic level of February 2020 and well below the national rate of 4.2 percent.

Minnesota’s labor force participation rate fell to 67.7 last month and is well below the 70.2 percent level of February 2020. The state’s unemployment rate may have returned to “normal” in 2021, but with a noticeably smaller workforce, which shrank again last month by more than 2,500 workers.

Compared to the national figure of 4.2 percent, here are the November unemployment rates of nearby states: Nebraska 1.8 percent, South Dakota 2.7, Wisconsin 3.0, North Dakota 3.2, Minnesota 3.3, and Iowa 3.7.

Nebraska is the only state with an unemployment rate below 2 percent. Along with South Dakota, there are seven additional states with November unemployment rates below 3 percent: Georgia, Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Utah, and Vermont. All nine states have Republican governors.