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Economy & Workforce


Lincoln has an active and educated workforce: high rates of workforce participation, low unemployment, over half of adults with post-secondary degrees, and high marks for quality from local businesses. However, most Lincoln households have not regained pre-Great Recession incomes, even when adjusting for inflation, though Lincoln’s most affluent households are thriving. Declining or stagnant measures for entrepreneurship and STEM jobs signal signs of weakness in Lincoln’s economy. The high percentage of children with all parents in the workforce signals the need for high quality childcare, but costs may consume a significant proportion of a household income.


1.  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021, October 21). Concepts and definitions. https://www.bls.gov/cps/definitions.htm#laborforce
2.  Families with all parents in the workforce include two-parent families with both parents working and one-parent families with that parent working.
3.  Taryn W. Morrissey (2017). Child care and parent labor force participation: A review of the research literature, Review of Economics of the Household, 15(1), 1-24, March. https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/reveho/v15y2017i1d10.1007_s11150-016-9331-3.html 
4.  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021, May). Occupational employment and wage statistics query system (Lincoln, NE; SOC: 299011). [Data set]. https://data.bls.gov/oes/#/geoOcc/Multiple%20occupations%20for%20one%20geographical%20area
5.  Federal poverty thresholds are determined annually based on household income, family size, and the number of related children under 18 years of age. In 2019, the poverty threshold for a family of four with two children under the age of 18 was $26,017 in annual household income.
6.  Not in labor force includes all people 16 years old and over who are not classified as members of the labor force. This category consists mainly of students, stay at home parents, retired workers, seasonal workers not currently looking for work, institutionalized people, and people only doing incidental unpaid family work.
7.  The civilian workforce includes people 16 years old and over who are working or are actively looking for work, but excludes people on active duty in the United States Armed Forces.
8.  Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century. (2007). Rising above the gathering storm: Energizing and employing America for a brighter economic future. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.
9.  Rothwell, J. (2013). The hidden STEM economy. Metropolitan Policy Program. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institute.
10. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021). COVID-19 ends longest employment recovery and expansion in CES history, causing unprecedented job losses in 2020. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2021/article/covid-19-ends-longest-employment-expansion-in-ces-history.htm