For most Americans, COVID-19 and the economic aftermath was a huge shock. Our economy was booming, unemployment was at historic lows—and then suddenly everything was closed. The shock of the suddenness of this change is only exacerbated by the economic realities facing families across the country. As of 2019, roughly half of the country didn’t have $400 in emergency savings, even during times of prosperity. It’s a startling reminder to plan today for tomorrow’s troubles.
For most of us, this lesson is applied to our lives by putting money into a savings account and preparing for a rainy day. The implications fall on us and our families, alone. But for Governor Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, his efforts to store up strong work policies during good economic times are paying dividends for the whole state. When more Americans are out of work and collecting unemployment benefits than ever before, Nebraska boasts the third-lowest unemployment rate in the nation and the sixth-best unemployment trust fund.
So how was Nebraska so prepared?