- Associated Press - Friday, September 15, 2017

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

The August rate was four-tenths of a point under the year-ago rate of 3.2 percent, the report said, and the rate also remained well below the U.S. figure, which rose to 4.4 percent.

“Nebraska’s seasonally adjusted employment reached 980,033 in August,” said Labor Commissioner John Albin. “Seasonally adjusted employment has been reported since 1976, and this is a historic high.”

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Nebraska nonfarm employment in August was up more than 15,000 over the year and nearly 900 over the month, the report said. Private industries with the most growth over the year were professional and business services, up 4,864; leisure and hospitality, up 3,805; and other services, up 2,116. Month over month, the largest gains were seen in education and health services, up 683; leisure and hospitality, up 410; and trade, transportation and utilities, up 54.

The preliminary Omaha-area rate dropped to 2.9 percent in August - two-tenths of a point lower than the revised July rate of 3.1 percent and a half point under the August 2016 rate of 3.4 percent. Lincoln’s preliminary rate also dropped two-tenths of a point, hitting 2.5 percent last month, compared with 2.7 percent in July. The August 2016 figure was 3 percent. Grand Island’s preliminary rate dropped to 2.7 percent last month from 2.9 percent in July. The August 2016 rate: 3.3 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 August, followed by the revised July rates:

- Beatrice: 3.3, 3.6

- Columbus: 2.7, 2.9

- Fremont: 2.7, 2.9

- Hastings: 3.1, 3.4

- Kearney: 2.5, 2.7

- Lexington: 2.6, 2.7

- Norfolk: 2.7, 2.9

- North Platte: 2.8, 3.2

- Red Willow: 2.8, 3.1

- Scottsbluff: 3.3, 3.4

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