Nebraska’s job growth slowed in 2016 and 2017 to nearly zero and is flat again this year, partly because many jobs are going unfilled. That’s one reason the state is ranking 49th out of 50 in economic growth this year.

Nebraska requires about 50,000 new and “improved” workers — those with the knowledge, skills and experience to qualify for higher-paying jobs — each year to fill potential job openings, but the state’s post-high school education system issues about 24,000 degrees and certifications.

The quality of available workers is a major factor in determining whether companies create jobs within the state to meet the demands of their businesses, as well as whether new companies choose to start in Nebraska or relocate to the state.

Increasing the number of skilled workers means employers can create higher-productivity jobs and pay higher wages, in turn attracting workers from outside the state as well as providing more incentive for young Nebraskans to stay at home and to advance their education and skill sets.

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