- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska’s unemployment rate has remained 3 percent for four months in a row, according to a state report released Friday.

The Nebraska Labor Department said the April rate matched those recorded for January, February and March, and was a tenth of a point higher than the 2.9 percent reported for April last year.

The new Nebraska rate remained well below the preliminary national unemployment rate of 5 percent in April - the same rate as March. The U.S. Labor Department said only the 2.6 percent for New Hampshire and the 2.5 percent recorded for South Dakota were lower than Nebraska’s 3 percent.

The state’s total unemployment claims dropped by 28 percent compared with April 2015, state Labor Commissioner John Albin said. Nonfarm employment was up by nearly 14,700 over April 2015. Private industries with the most growth year over year were education and health services, up 6,068; leisure and hospitality, up 5,026; and professional and business services, up 2,561.

The preliminary Omaha rate dropped three-tenths of a point to 3.2 percent last month from 3.5 percent in March, while the Lincoln rate dropped a tenth, to 2.7 percent.

The unemployment rates for 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 April, followed by revised figures for March:

- Beatrice: 3.1, 3.5

- Columbus: 3.5, 3.7

- Fremont: 3.0, 3.3

- Hastings: 3.0, 3.5

- Kearney: 2.3, 2.5

- Lexington: 3.0, 3.1

- Norfolk: 2.0, 2.8

- North Platte: 3.1, 3.3

- Red Willow: 3.6, 3.4

- Scottsbluff: 3.0, 3.1

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