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Nebraska unemployment inched up to 3.1% in July

August 16, 2019

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska’s unemployment rose a tenth of a point from June’s 3% to hit 3.1% in July, the state said in a report released Friday.

The Nebraska Labor Department said the preliminary July rate was four-tenths of a point higher than the adjusted July 2018 rate of 2.7%. And the new Nebraska rate was well below July’s national preliminary rate of 3.7%, which was unchanged from the June rate.

“The number of employed workers statewide increased again, with July being the seventh straight month of historically high employment,” said state Labor Commissioner John Albin. “Nebraska’s labor force participation rate, which measures the proportion of individuals working or looking for work, increased 0.7 percentage points from January to July and is one of the highest in the nation at 69.8%.” Only Minnesota’s 70% was higher among the 50 states.

The state has said the unemployment rate can go up when the labor force grows faster than the number of individuals employed — not enough jobs to accommodate the number of people looking for work.

Nonfarm employment was 1,031,545 in July, up by 6,771 over the year and down by 9,526 over the month. Private industries with the most growth year over year were mining and construction, up 1,704; leisure and hospitality, up 1,655; and education and health, up 1,221. Month to month, the largest gains were seen in trade, transportation and utilities, up 628; other services, up 297; and mining and construction, 282.

The preliminary Omaha-area rate for July hit 3.2%, down a tenth from June’s 3.3%, the report said. The year-ago July figure was 3.1%. Lincoln’s preliminary rate also dropped a tenth of a point to hit 3.1%, compared with 3.2% in June. The figure in July 2018 was 2.8%. Grand Island’s preliminary rate remained steady at 3.4%. The year-ago July figure was 3%.

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 the June rates:

— Beatrice: 3.4, 3.5

— Columbus: 3.1, 3.3

— Fremont: 3.1, 3.3

— Hastings: 3.7, 3.6

— Kearney: 2.9, 3.1

— Lexington: 3.2, 3.2

— Norfolk: 3.2, 3.1

— North Platte: 4.1, 3.8

— Red Willow: 3.4, 3.5

— Scottsbluff: 3.9, 3.9

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