State Chamber Survey: Workforce Again Tops Business Concerns

State Chamber Survey: Workforce Again Tops Business Concerns

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 2:30pm

LINCOLN – Workforce quality and the availability of labor are again the top concerns of Nebraska’s business community and community leaders.  That’s the finding of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 2017 statewide business survey. 

The survey was conducted this autumn as part of State Chamber’s 28 legislative forum presentations held in 25 communities.  More than 1,500 Nebraskans attended the forums, including 35 of 49 state lawmakers.  For more than 30 years, the Nebraska Chamber’s legislative forums have been a joint effort with local chambers of commerce across the state. 

According to the Chamber’s survey results, nearly 36% of respondents said workforce was the top concern facing their business or organization.  This marks the fifth consecutive year that the shortage of skilled or qualified labor has been the primary worry cited in the Nebraska Chamber’s survey. 

Taxes and government regulations also scored high as primary challenges facing the business community, with nearly half of respondents indicating that either taxes or regulations were their top issue.

Other findings from this year’s Nebraska Chamber survey include:

  • When asked if their business were hiring today, nearly 60% of respondents said they would hire someone with a two-year degree or a certified skill.  Another 31% said they would hire an individual with a four-year degree, while just 10% said someone with only a high school diploma.
  • Nearly 38% of respondents said that population loss or a shrinking workforce was the most pressing issue for their community.  Another 28% said the loss of businesses or well-paying jobs was their biggest community concern. 
  • Respondents were divided on how best to address workforce shortages and population loss.  Just over 29% of respondents said that more housing was the best answer, while roughly 28% preferred more technical education/skills-based training for high schoolers and younger students.  Another 26% said more well-paying jobs would be the best remedy, while 12% said more local internships for students.
  • When asked what issues Nebraska lawmakers should prioritize in 2018, almost 41% of respondents said policymakers should lower Nebraska’s state taxes.  Another 24% said the Legislature’s primary focus should be reducing state spending.  Fewer than 15% of respondents said they wanted to see state lawmakers attempt additional “tax shifting” by sending more state money to local governments in the hopes of lowering local taxes – a practice that has been tried and has failed multiple times in the past 50 years.

The State Chamber has proudly served as the voice of Nebraska’s business community since 1912.