- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska’s preliminary unemployment rate remained at 3 percent in January, matching the revised rate for December, according to a state report released Monday.

The Nebraska Labor Department said the January rate was a tenth of a point higher than the revised January 2015 rate of 2.9 percent.

“Workers entering and re-entering the labor market were a contributing factor to the slight year-over-year increase in the rate,” said state Labor Commissioner John Albin. “Total employment is up and the number of unemployment claims filed is down in 19 different industries compared to last year, including construction, manufacturing, and administration and support.”

The new Nebraska rate remained well below the preliminary national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent in January. The U.S. Labor Department said Nebraska’s rate was a tenth of a point higher than New Hampshire’s 2.9 percent in January and two-tenths higher than the 2.8 percent reported for North and South Dakota, the lowest rate in the nation.

The preliminary Omaha unemployment rate hit 3.6 percent, matching the year-ago rate. The Lincoln rate rose to 3 percent from a revised rate of 2.8 percent in January 2015. The preliminary Grand Island rate rose to 5.3 percent, compared with 4.6 percent a year ago.

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 January, followed by revised figures for January 2015:

- Beatrice: 3.9. 4.5

- Columbus: 3.8, 2.8

- Fremont: 3.5, 3.3

- Hastings: 3.8, 3.7

- Kearney: 2.5, 2.8

- Lexington: 3.4, 3.2

- Norfolk: 3.1, 4.6

- North Platte: 3.4, 3.6

- Red Willow: 3.1, 2.6

- Scottsbluff: 3.4, 2.4


This story has been corrected to show that January’s preliminary rate is unchanged at 3 percent, matching the revised December rate, and is higher than the revised January 2015 rate of 2.9 percent.

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