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Coastal climates and palm tree vistas have cemented California and Florida as top retirement destinations. But for those in search of work, one Midwestern state is outshining the rest.

Nebraska's unemployment rate dipped to 1.9% in October, less than half the 4.6% national rate. In fact, the Cornhusker State just registered the lowest jobless rate since 1976, according to statistics from the US Department of Labor.

A State on the Grow

With the state's economy firing on all cylinders, there are three times as many job openings in Nebraska as unemployed people looking for work — the highest ratio in the country, according to ZipRecruiter.

Several factors have helped the state stay well below the national unemployment average since the pandemic's onset:

  • Prominent industries like agriculture and food-processing (remember, they don't just grow corn there, they husk it) were deemed essential, so government-imposed business closures in Nebraska were limited.
  • The state also churns out a high number of high-school graduates, which lends to a smaller pool of unemployed people, according to University of Nebraska-Lincoln economics professor Eric Thompson.

Governor Pete Ricketts called the record jobless figure "a sign of our strong job growth, successful reemployment services, and extraordinary economic resilience," adding, "Nebraska has plenty of great-paying career opportunities for anyone looking to enjoy the good life!"

Got a Job: The U.S. labor shortage is a persistent force driving down unemployment in many states, as companies scramble to hike pay and benefits to attract talent. Utah, Idaho, South Dakota, and Oklahoma all recorded jobless rates below 3% in October. Seems the only Cornhusker having a tough time these days is U-of-N coach Scott Frost.