Aug 19, 12:41 PM EDT

Nebraska's jobless rate inched up to 3.1 percent in July

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska's unemployment rose to 3.1 percent in July, a tenth of a point higher than the June rate, according to a new report issued Friday.

The Nebraska Labor Department said last month's preliminary rate also was a tenth of a point higher than the July 2015 figure of 3.1 percent. But the state rate remained well below the preliminary national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent, which matched the June rate and was down four-tenths of a point from 5.3 percent in July 2015.

The U.S. Labor Department said in a separate report Friday that only South Dakota's preliminary rate of 2.8 percent and New Hampshire's 2.9 percent were lower in July than Nebraska and North Dakota's 3.1 percent.

"While the unemployment rate was up slightly, total nonfarm employment for July was the highest July on record," said state Labor Commissioner John Albin. "A number of industries saw strong year-to-year growth, including leisure and hospitality and education and health services."

Albin also said July employments levels reached new highs in the mining, financial activities, and professional and business services industries.

The preliminary Omaha area rate rose a tenth of a point to hit 3.6 last month, compared with 3.5 percent in June and in July 2015. The Lincoln rate also climbed a tenth of a point, to 3.2 percent from 3.1 percent in June. The year-ago figure was 2.9 percent. The Grand Island area rate reached 3.5 percent in July, compared with 3.4 percent in June; the figure was 5.8 percent in July 2015.

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 July, followed by revised figures for June:

- Beatrice: 3.9, 3.4

- Columbus: 4.0, 3.8

- Fremont: 3.6, 3.4

- Hastings: 3.6, 3.5

- Kearney: 3.0, 2.9

- Lexington: 3.1, 3.1

- Norfolk: 3.1, 3.1

- North Platte: 3.6, 3.4

- Red Willow: 3.6, 3.5

- Scottsbluff: 3.9, 3.6

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