Nebraska Labor Department: State jobless rate hit 3% in May

June 21, 2019

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska’s unemployment rate rose again last month despite the record number of people employed, the state said Friday.

The Nebraska Labor Department said the preliminary May rate was 3% — up a tenth of a point from April’s 2.9% and March’s rate of 2.8%. The May 2018 rate was 2.8% as well.

“Nebraska’s number of individuals employed grew to a record level in May (1,034,288), as did total nonfarm employment statewide and in Omaha,” Commissioner of Labor John Albin said in a news release.

Nebraska’s labor force participation rate rose in May to its highest point since April 2016. Because the labor force grew marginally faster than the number of individuals employed, the department said, the unemployment rate went up.

The new Nebraska rate was well below May’s national preliminary rate of 3.6% — unchanged from April.

Private industries with the most growth year over year were mining and construction, up 2,104; financial activities, up 1,448; and other services, up 970. Month to month, the largest gains were seen in leisure and hospitality, up 4,600; mining and construction, up 3,048; and trade, transportation, and utilities, up 1,312.

The preliminary Omaha-area rate for May remained unchanged at 2.9%, the department said. The year-ago May figure was 2.7%. Lincoln’s preliminary rate rose a tenth of a point to hit 2.8% in May, compared with 2.7% in April. The figure in May 2018 was 2.5%. Grand Island’s preliminary rate was 3% in May, the same as April. The year-ago May figure was 2.7%.

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 May, followed by the April rates:

— Beatrice: 3.1, 3.2

— Columbus: 3.0, 2.8

— Fremont: 2.9, 2.8

— Hastings: 2.9, 2.9

— Kearney: 2.7, 2.4

— Lexington: 2.8, 2.8

— Norfolk: 2.7, 2.6

— North Platte: 3.2, 3.2

— Red Willow: 2.9, 2.8

— Scottsbluff: 3.5, 3.7