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Sep 20, 10:54 AM EDT

Nebraska's jobless rate rose to 3.2 percent in August


LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska's unemployment rate inched up a tenth of a point to 3.2 percent in August, according to a state report issued Tuesday.

The Nebraska Labor Department said the preliminary August rate remained well below the preliminary national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent, which matched the state's July rate and was down two-tenths of a point from 5.1 percent in August 2015.

Only South Dakota's preliminary rate of 2.9 percent, New Hampshire's 3 percent and North Dakota's 3.1 percent were lower in August than Nebraska, the U.S. Labor Department said.

The total number of Nebraska residents employed in August was up 3,160 over the year before, state Labor Commissioner John Albin said.

"The data suggest that the main cause for the increase in the unemployment rate is individuals who had dropped out of the labor force and therefore were not included in prior months' counts of individuals looking for work. The total number of jobs remained over the million mark in August, the sixth straight month Nebraska's nonfarm employment has been above 1 million," Albin said.

Private industries with the most growth year over year were education and health services, up 4,712; leisure and hospitality, up 3,616; and professional and business services, up 2,299.

The preliminary Omaha area rate dropped a tenth of a point to hit 3.5 last month, compared with 3.6 percent in July. The August 2015 rate was 3.2 percent. The Lincoln rate dropped two-tenths of a point, to 3 percent from 3.2 percent in July. The year-ago figure was 2.6 percent. The Grand Island area rate also dropped two-tenths of a point, hitting 3.3 percent in August. The figure was 5.1 percent in August 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 August, followed by revised figures for July:

- Beatrice: 3.5, 3.8

- Columbus: 3.6, 4.0

- Fremont: 3.3, 3.6

- Hastings: 3.4, 3.5

- Kearney: 2.8, 3.0

- Lexington: 3.0, 3.1

- Norfolk: 2.9, 3.1

- North Platte: 3.2, 3.5

- Red Willow: 3.8, 3.9

- Scottsbluff: 3.4, 3.6

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