There has been a lot of talk about how extended unemployment benefits may have contributed to the labor shortage in Nebraska, but a recent Federal Reserve study shows how these benefits have held back income levels staff to dive statewide.

The study, from the Omaha branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, shows that, thanks to the improved federal unemployment benefit of $ 600 per week, “incomes in the state have increased from that. which could have happened in the absence of the pandemic. “

The study noted that without the income supports, personal income would have declined in Nebraska in all industry categories between the first and second quarters of 2020, with the leisure and hospitality sector the most affected, with a drop of more than 10%.

However, thanks to the $ 600 unemployment supplement, incomes actually rose across all industries, with the entertainment and hospitality industry seeing an increase of over 40%.

Income supports have been so beneficial to Nebraska that it was one of five states with higher personal income in 2020 than one would have expected without the pandemic. The others were Connecticut, Iowa, South Dakota, and West Virginia.

You can view the full study at:

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Pandemic travel issues

Although the hospitality and leisure industry was hit hard in the first few months of the pandemic, the Federal Reserve study estimated that nearly 30% of state jobs in the industry were Lost between Q1 and Q2 of 2020, Nebraska was one of the least affected states in the country by travel restrictions.

According to a study by online car shopping site CoPilot, only two states – North Dakota and Arkansas – were less affected than Nebraska when it came to travel.

The study looked at the decline in each state’s gross domestic product in its accommodation and food services, arts and entertainment industries, the share of these industries in a state’s total GDP, and the share of these industries. industries in a state’s total employment.

Nebraska is the state with the lowest share of its GDP coming from accommodation and food services and is among the lowest for arts and entertainment, which means that although these industries were difficult in the State, they had a smaller overall effect on the economy. .

As you might expect, the state most affected by travel restrictions was Hawaii. Nevada, which is the state with the highest percentage of its GDP generated by both accommodation and food services and arts and entertainment, has done surprisingly well, as the 14th most affected state.

More automation at Walmart

A Walmart spokeswoman confirmed in August to the Journal Star that the retail giant plans to turn part of the garden center at its 87th Street and Andermatt Drive store into a “mini distribution center” with an “automated pickup distribution system”, but those are all the details it would provide.

However, a request to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission that Walmart made last month sheds much more light on what’s going on in the store.

Walmart plans to demolish about 6,500 square feet of its garden center on the east side of the store, the space for two automated pickup towers where people can pick up their orders online.

Walmart Garden Center, 08.23

Walmart is demolishing part of its store’s garden center at 8700 Andermatt Drive to install automated order processing towers.

EAKIN HOWARD, Journal Star archive photo

Each round will have four different pickup locations – eight in total – where people can pick up orders.

“Orders will be processed inside the store via an automated system that will assemble orders and then deliver them to one of eight designated locations on the outer towers,” the app says. “Customers will then be able to enter a code to access their orders and load them into their vehicles.”

Walmart is spending several million dollars on the system, which is expected to go live next year.

List the lists

Regular readers of this column will know that I like to end it with an overview of recent Lincoln and / or Nebraska rankings in the national reports. The last:

* Best City for Young Professionals (Insurify)

* Third most livable state capital (SmartAsset)

* 18th best place to live (Habitability)

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