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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - JULY RECAP

The labor shortage is impacting not only the nation but the state of Nebraska as well. A U.S. Chamber of Commerce Analysis based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found Nebraska to be one of fifteen states to be suffering the most from worker shortage. Despite these conditions, Nebraska continues to enjoy a higher labor participation rate (71%) than the national average (62.2%) and Buffalo County in particular has a lower unemployment rate (1.7% in May) than the state average (2% in May) and national average (3.6%).

This data is encouraging, but many challenges persist, particularly in the area of healthcare. The Nebraska Center for Nursing predicts that the healthcare worker shortage in Nebraska may get worse, with a shortage of over 5,000 nurses by 2035. To address this, state legislators allocated $5 million in COVID relief funds to help healthcare providers pay off college loans and provide an equal amount for nursing scholarships. However, one major development in the healthcare workforce is happening right here in Kearney with the $60 million in funding for the University of Nebraska-Kearney to construct a rural health complex. The construction of this health complex will help expand access to healthcare as well as train the next generation of medical professionals.

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