Nebraska jobless rate drops to 3.6 percent

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's preliminary unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of point to hit 3.6 percent in April, the third-lowest rate in the nation, according to a report released Friday.

The Nebraska Labor Department said the March rate was revised to 3.8 percent from the preliminary figure of 3.7 percent and that the April figure was four-tenths of a point below the 4 percent reported a year ago.

"This is the second month this year that Nebraska's unemployment rate has been at 3.6 percent," said Commissioner of Labor Catherine Lang. "Not only has the unemployment rate dropped from March to April, but the labor force has also grown and employment is up over the month."

Nebraska's rate trailed only Vermont's 3.3 percent and North Dakota's 2.6 percent. All three marks are well below the preliminary national figure of 6.3 percent in April, a drop of four-tenths of a point from March.

There were 1,028,189 people in the state labor force last month, the report said, compared with 1,027,490 in March. The number of unemployed dropped to 37,489 from 38,620 in March.

In Omaha the preliminary unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent last month, compared with 4.5 percent in March. The new rate is four-tenths of point under the 4.1 percent of April 2013. Lincoln's April rate also fell, to 2.9 percent from 3.5 percent in March. The April 2013 mark was 3.4 percent.

The unemployment rates for Lincoln and Omaha are not seasonally adjusted, so they cannot be directly compared with the state unemployment rate.

The rate in the Grand Island market, which includes Hall, Howard and Merrick counties, returned to the statewide range in April, hitting 3.1 percent. It had jumped well out of the state's range in March to reach 6.7 percent, compared with 3.9 percent in February. Lang said March's increase came mostly in the manufacturing sector and did not involve plant closures. But she said she could not provide more details because of federal confidentiality regulations.

Here are all preliminary area labor market unemployment rates for April, followed by the revised March rates:

—Beatrice: 3.4, 4.4

—Columbus: 2.8, 3.3

—Fremont: 3.6, 4.2

—Grand Island: 3.1, 6.7

—Hastings: 3.3, 4.4

—Kearney: 2.6, 3.2

—Lexington: 3.7, 4.5

—Norfolk: 2.9, 3.8

—North Platte: 2.9, 3.5

—Red Willow: 2.6, 3.1

—Scotts Bluff: 3.8, 4.4

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Online:

Nebraska Department of Labor: http://www.dol.nebraska.gov

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