Bureau of Business Research


Date of this Version



Business in Nebraska vol. 54, no. 639


Copyright 1999 by Bureau of Business Research, University of Nebraska.


The February 1999 issue of Business in Nebraska reported economic and demographic trends in the 52 Nebraska counties classified as most rural. Most rural counties contain only towns with fewer than 2,500 residents. This article extends the previous analysis by exploring potential gaps between the working-age population and available nonfarm jobs from 1997 to 2010 and factors that may contribute to working-age outmigration for most rural counties.

On the economic side, the February article reported that while the number of private nonfarm jobs in these counties grew from 1970 to 1996, the most rural share of total private nonfarm jobs declined overall and in most sectors (Figure 1). Further, nearly all of the nonfarm private sector job growth from 1970 to 1996 occurred outside of the most rural counties. If the trend continues unchecked, job growth will lag the rest of the state and, as a result, the most rural counties will continue to account for a decreasing share of nonfarm private employment.