By Associated Press - Monday, March 12, 2018

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska’s preliminary January unemployment rate matched the revised December rate of 2.9 percent, the state Labor Department said in a report released Monday.

The December rate was raised two-tenths of a point in a routine revision from the preliminary rate of 2.7 percent, the department said. The January 2017 rate was 3.1 percent.

The January rate also was well below the U.S. rate, which was unchanged at 4.1 percent.

“While industries experienced normal seasonal declines in January, the state’s total labor force and number of employed workers in the labor force were both up over the month and over the year,” Labor Commissioner John Albin said.

Iowa and Vermont joined Nebraska at the January rate of 2.9 percent. New Hampshire and North Dakota recorded rates of 2.6 percent, and Hawaii’s 2.1 percent was the nation’s lowest rate in January.

The preliminary Omaha-area rate rose to 3.2 percent in January from 2.8 percent in December. Lincoln’s preliminary rate rose three-tenths of a point to hit 2.7 percent, compared with 2.4 percent in December. Grand Island’s preliminary rate jumped in January to 4.8 percent from 3.1 percent in December.

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 the December rates:

- Beatrice: 2.9, 3.3

- Columbus: 2.7, 2.7

- Fremont: 3.1, 2.9

- Hastings: 3.4, 3.2

- Kearney: 2.3 2.3

- Lexington: 3.0, 2.8

- Norfolk: 2.9, 2.6

- North Platte: 3.3, 3.0

- Red Willow: 2.4, 2.6

- Scottsbluff: 3.3, 3.3

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