Mayor Don Wesely said figures from the Nebraska Department of Labor show that 5,670 more people are employed in the Lincoln area compared to a year ago, a strong indicator that the community’s job base is growing. The number of employed persons increased from 139,640 in December 2001 to 145,310 in December 2002.
“Despite the national economic slowdown, the public-private partnerships we’ve created are being successful in creating new jobs in our community,” said Mayor Wesely. “Our unemployment rate is holding steady at 2.9 percent, the fourth lowest in the nation among cities our size, and we continue our efforts to retain and add good jobs in Lincoln.”
Companies that have recently announced job additions include Kawasaki, Garner Industries, Burlington Northern, Cabela’s, Transactional Application Group, ACTON, Archer-Daniels-Midland and Universal Cold Storage. State figures show employment increases in finance, insurance, real estate, retail and wholesale trade sectors.
Wesely said the tremendous increase in construction investment in Lincoln is another good sign for the local economy. According to the City Building and Safety Department, the value of building permits issued in Lincoln in calendar year 2002 was $605.4 million, a 43 percent increase over the previous year.
Wesely said Lincoln sales figures continue to increase as well. February numbers showed net City sales tax collections were up 15.4 percent compared to the same month last year and exceeded $5 million for the first time. The net sales tax revenue is up 11 percent for the first six months of this fiscal year, which began September 1. Net sales tax revenue for February was $5,163,582, which is $230,894 higher than what the City had projected. Net sales tax revenue is calculated by subtracting refunds to businesses for LB775 tax credits from gross sales tax revenues. Gross sales tax revenues increased 4.9 percent for February, and sales tax refunds decreased by 88 percent, resulting in the 15.4 percent net sales tax revenue increase. The figures reflect December sales reported to the state in January and received by the City in February.
Sales tax revenues fund about 42 percent of the City’s tax-supported budget. Property tax revenue funds about 28 percent of the budget, with the remainder coming from fees, interest income and other sources.