Mayor Don Wesely said Lincoln’s employment picture continues to look strong, despite this week’s announcements by State Farm Insurance and Alltel of job transfers and cuts.
“We never like to hear that jobs are leaving Lincoln, but transfers and cuts can be expected as companies strive to be more efficient in tough economic times,” said Mayor Wesely. “It’s important to recognize that jobs are also being created here as a result of the public-private partnerships we’ve created. The fact is that far more jobs are being added than lost in our community.”
Figures from the Nebraska Department of Labor show that 5,670 more people are employed in the Lincoln area compared to a year ago. The number of employed persons increased from 139,640 in December 2001 to 145,310 in December 2002. Lincoln’s unemployment rate is holding steady at 2.9 percent, the fourth lowest in the nation among cities our size. 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 Farm announced plans this week to transfer 185 jobs from Lincoln to four other states in the next two to four years as part of its consolidation efforts. Alltel is offering early retirement to about 60 eligible employees due to a slowdown in its home telephone service.
“I am confident that the new jobs we expect to come into our community in the near future will more than make up for these losses,” said Mayor Wesely. “Lincoln’s continued growth in construction investment and sales tax revenues bolster our confidence that our economy is improving.”
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.
Net City sales tax collections for February 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.