- Associated Press - Friday, October 20, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The state’s preliminary unemployment rate remained unchanged in September at 2.8 percent, which is the fifth lowest in the nation, the Nebraska Labor Department said in a report Friday.

The September rate was half a percentage point under the year-ago rate of 3.3 percent, the report said, and the rate also remained well below the U.S. figure, which dropped to 4.2 percent.

“In September, the number of Nebraskans unemployed and looking for work fell to 27,800,” said Labor Commissioner John Albin. “This is the lowest number of unemployed individuals in Nebraska since January of 2001, when 27,601 individuals were unemployed.”

Nebraska nonfarm employment in September was up 14,285 over the year and up more than 3,750 over the month, the report said. Private industries with the most growth over the year were professional and business services, up 6,316; leisure and hospitality, up 2,754; and other services, up 2,020. Month over month, the largest gains were seen in education and health services, up 1,017; professional and business services, up 720; and mining and construction, up 679.

The preliminary Omaha-area rate dropped to 2.6 percent in September - three-tenths of a point lower than the revised August rate of 2.8 percent and seven-tenths of a point under the September 2016 rate of 3.3 percent. Lincoln’s preliminary rate also dropped two-tenths of a point, hitting 2.3 percent last month, compared with 2.5 percent in August. The September 2016 figure was 2.9 percent. Grand Island’s preliminary rate dropped to 2.5 percent last month from 2.7 percent in August. The September 2016 rate: 3.2 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 the revised August rates:

- Beatrice: 5.3, 3.3

- Columbus: 2.4, 2.7

- Fremont: 2.5, 2.7

- Hastings: 2.6, 3.1

- Kearney: 2.1, 2.5

- Lexington: 2.4, 2.6

- Norfolk: 2.2, 2.7

- North Platte: 2.5, 2.8

- Red Willow: 2.4, 2.8

- Scottsbluff: 3.0, 3.3

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