Chase County unemployment rate much lower than state’s

    Chase County might be having its share of problems due to COVID-19, but unemployment apparently isn’t one of them.
    The latest figures from the Nebraska Department of Labor show the county’s unemployment rate as of June at 2.6%.
    That’s a little over a quarter of the state unemployment average of 6.9%. Statewide, June figures show 73,350 people unemployed in the state out of a total labor force of 1,069,792.
    Brandon Jones, research supervisor for the state Department of Labor, said a couple of factors may account for Chase County’s low unemployment, including that it’s a small, largely rural county.
    “One, it’s a pretty small area,” Jones said. “Two, there could be people who possibly work in, say, Colorado or different counties.”
    The latest information from the U.S. Census Bureau puts Chase County’s population at just under 4,000 people.
    Jones said a better indicator of the employment picture here is the number actually filing unemployment claims. That also includes people who have lost work due to reductions in hours and schedule changes at work.
    Since the COVID-19 cases were recorded earlier this year, the number of people in Chase County filing unemployment claims has rarely been in double digits. The largest number, Jones said, was 17 in the week ending April 4.
    “Chase County is definitely one of the lower-claiming counties (in Nebraska), at least for initial claims,” he said. “They’re pretty much in the bottom 10 or 20 or so.”
    Unemployment figures from the Department of Labor do not take into account agricultural employment. Figures for that were not available.


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