Neb Jobless Rate 3.1%, Second-Lowest In Nation.

      Nebraska’s preliminary unemployment rate fell a tenth of a point in February to 3.1%, the 3rd-lowest rate in the nation. It’s also just a tenth of point higher tha a year ago, the last month before COVID-19 lockdown measures began.

     The February jobless rates for Omaha and Grand Island were both 3.9% with LIncoln at 3.6%, all 3-10ths of a point higher than January, while the Scottsbluff micropolitan statistical area came in at 3.5%, up 2-10ths of a point.

       The local rates are not adjusted for seasonal factors while the state rate is, making comparisons meaningless. 

      Numbers from a year ago aren’t available because the Labor Department is in its annual benchmarking process, which aligns estimated data with actual numbers 

     State Labor Commissioner John Albin says things continue to look bright for Nebraska, pointing out that more than 50,000 non-farm jobs have been added “across a broad range of industry sectors” since last April, the peak for pandemic job losses. 

    Nonfarm employment not adjusted for seasonal factors in February was still down more than 32,000 from last year at 987,408 – although that is an increase of 3,680 jobs from January.  

    Private industries with the most growth for the month were Education and Health Services with 1,836 more jobs and Professional and Business Services, up 1,392.

      The numbers should continue to improve. Nebraska saw a drop last week in both new and continued unemployment claims. The 1,523 new, regular claims and 11 pandemic-related claims were down 60.

     The 12,247 continuing, regular unemployment claims and 2,891 continuing pandemic claims for the week were 1,406 fewer than the week before.