Census finds scientific evidence of the Midwestern work ethic

Census finds scientific evidence of the Midwestern work ethic

MATT OLBERDING/ Lincoln Journal Star

When people talk about the "Midwestern work ethic," they're not just blowing smoke.

Recent census figures confirm what people say about us.

According to the 2008 American Community Survey, 83 percent of working-age people in Nebraska (those 16 to 64) are in the labor force, the highest rate among the 50 states.

North Dakota is a close second, while Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota round out the top 5.

Nebraska also has high rankings for percentage of children under 6 with both parents in the labor force (third) and percentage of married couples with both husband and wife in the labor force (fourth).

The statistics were compiled by David Drozd, research coordinator of the Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Drozd said there are a number of reasons Nebraska and other Midwestern states top the lists.

A big reason, he said, is that the survey was done in 2008, and the effects of the recession didn't hit Nebraska and other Midwestern states until late in the year, meaning fewer people lost jobs.

Other reasons include Nebraska's relatively low rate of disabilities compared with other states and a significant number of people with more than one job.

"We just have a very hard-working labor force," Drozd said. "Sometimes that's out of necessity."

Delta coming back?

Considering the Lincoln Airport's recent history with keeping new air service, you'd be right to be skeptical of an airline's claim that it plans to bring back a route it canceled after less than three months of operation.

But, apparently, Delta plans to keep its promise to restore Lincoln service to Atlanta next summer -- at least for now.

A 6:45 a.m. daily flight from Lincoln to Atlanta is on the schedule at Delta's Web site starting June 11.

Steve Glenn, president of Executive Travel and a former Airport Authority board member, said he was "shocked" to find the flight on the schedule again.

Glenn tipped off the Journal Star to the planned return of the Atlanta flight. He had been critical of Delta's decision to schedule both the Atlanta flight and one to Salt Lake City in the afternoons, saying it made them useless to business travelers.

Despite the inconvenient time, though, the Atlanta flight was about 80 percent fullj, on average.

If Delta brings the Atlanta flight back in the morning, that's "a fantastic schedule," Glenn said.

"That flight will be full every day."

In surveys done by both the airport and Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, fliers have long expressed a desire for a southbound destination out of Lincoln, although a Northwest flight to Memphis a few years ago lasted less than a year due to lack of interest from passengers.

Atlanta, with its wealth of international flights and proximity to vacation destinations, may fare better. Only time will tell, and hopefully, Delta will give the flight a fighting chance.

Delta had also said it would bring back its Lincoln-to-Salt Lake City flight next summer. That flight is not yet on the schedule.

The Salt Lake City flight was much less popular, with planes slightly less than half full on average.

Reach Matt Olberding at 473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.


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