- Associated Press - Friday, October 21, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska’s unemployment rate remained stable at 3.2 percent in September, matching the August figure, according to a new report issued Friday.

The Nebraska Labor Department said the preliminary September rate remained well below the preliminary national unemployment rate of 5 percent. The national rate rose a tenth from the August rate of 4.9 percent but came in a tenth of a point under the 5.1 percent recorded for September 2015.

The U.S. Labor Department says only New Hampshire’s and South Dakota’s preliminary rates of 2.9 percent and North Dakota’s 3 percent were lower in September than Nebraska’s rate. A year ago, Nebraska’s figure was 3 percent.

The September increase in nonfarm employment continued the state’s yearly trend, said Nebraska Labor Commissioner John Albin. Nonfarm employment increased to 1,018,830, up 3,976 over the month and 8,392 over the year. Private industries with the most growth over the month were education and health services, up 1,097; professional and business services, up 642: and information, up 67.

“The start of the school year is always a big employment driver,” Albin said.

The preliminary Omaha area rate dropped two tenths of a point to hit 3.3 percent last month, compared with 3.5 percent in August. The September 2015 rate was 3.1 percent. The Lincoln rate dropped a tenth of a point, to 2.9 percent from 3 percent in August. The year-ago figure was 2.4 percent. The Grand Island area rate also dropped a tenth of a point, hitting 3.2 percent in September, compared with 3 percent in August. The September 2015 figure was 3.1 percent.

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 September, followed by revised figures for August:

- Beatrice: 3.1, 3.5

- Columbus: 3.4, 3.5

- Fremont: 3.1, 3.3

- Hastings: 3.1, 3.3

- Kearney: 2.5, 2.8

- Lexington: 3.0, 3.0

- Norfolk: 2.8, 2.9

- North Platte: 2.9, 3.2

- Red Willow: 2.8, 3.3

- Scottsbluff: 3.6, 3.8

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