Nebraska jobless rate drops again, to 3.5 percent

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska’s preliminary unemployment rate hit 3.5 percent in January, its lowest mark since September 2008, according to a state Labor Department report released Friday.

The rate was a tenth of a point under the 3.6 percent in December and four-tenths of a point below the January 2013 rate of 3.9 percent. The new Nebraska figure remained well below the national unemployment rate of 6.6 percent in January.

The report said there were 1,022,527 people in the state labor force in January, compared with 1,020,038 in December. The number of unemployed dropped to 36,084 from 36,761 in December. The number of people with Nebraska jobs rose to 986,443 from 983,277 in December. In January 2013 the number of employed was 988,464, the report says.

Statewide and in Lincoln, there were employment increases in the information industry while there was growth in financial activities employment in Omaha, the report says.

In Omaha the preliminary unemployment rate rose to 4.5 percent from 3.9 percent a month earlier. The rate was 5 percent in January 2013. Lincoln’s January rate was 3.7 percent. That was six-tenths of a point higher than December’s rate of 3.1 percent but a half a point lower than the January 2013 rate of 4.2 percent.

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

Here are preliminary area labor market unemployment rates for January, followed by the revised December rates:

-Beatrice: 4.3, 3.7

-Columbus: 3,4, 2.9

-Fremont: 4.4, 3.7

-Grand Island: 3.8, 3.3

-Hastings: 4.0, 3.5

-Kearney: 3.3, 2.8

-Lexington: 4.8, 4.1

-Norfolk: 3.9, 3.1

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