- Associated Press - Friday, March 25, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska’s preliminary unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3 percent in February, according to a state report issued Friday.

The Nebraska Labor Department said the rate matched January’s revised rate and was two-tenths of a point higher than the 2.8 percent reported for February 2015. The new Nebraska rate remained well below the preliminary national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent in February.

“We continue to see new entrants in the labor force as the number of persons employed continues to grow and the unemployment rate remains one of the lowest in the nation,” state Labor Commissioner John Albin said in a news release.

Private industries with the most job growth month-to-month were education and health services, up 564; financial activities, up 206; and information, up 115.

Nebraska’s and Colorado’s rate was three-tenths of a point higher than the 2.7 percent for New Hampshire and South Dakota and a tenth of a point higher than North Dakota’s 2.9 percent, the U.S. Labor Department said.

The preliminary Omaha rate stayed at 3.6 percent last month, while the Lincoln rate dropped to 2.8 percent from 3 percent in January. Grand Island’s February rate dropped to 3.8 percent from 5.3 percent in January.

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

Here are preliminary area labor market unemployment rates for February, followed by revised figures for January:

- Beatrice: 3.8, 3.9

- Columbus: 3.9, 3.8

- Fremont: 3.3, 3.5

- Hastings: 3.4, 3.8

- Kearney: 2.4, 2.5

- Lexington: 3.2, 3.5

- Norfolk: 3.0, 3.1

- North Platte: 3.3, 3.4

- Red Willow: 3.1, 3.2

- Scottsbluff: 3.3, 3.5

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