Bluffs area unemployment rate remains higher than state figure

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Nebraska's unemployment rate inched up a tenth of a point in March to 3.7%, but that's 2-10ths of a point lower than last year and 3 full points below the national jobless rate for the month.

Commissioner of Labor Catherine Lang says it's not unusual to see the unemployment rate increase slightly from February to March, and emphasizes that the state's economy continues to show improvement from last year.

Lang says that even though the unemployment rate rose in March, so did nonfarm employment...which was up 2,476 jobs from February and 8,127 jobs from last March. The 3 categories showing the greatest monthly growth were Mining and COnstruction, Leisure and Hospitality, and Manufacturing.

The March unemployment rate for Lincoln 3.5%, down a tenth of a point for both the month and the year, while the rate for Omaha was 4.5%, unchanged for both the month and the year.

The Scottsbluff Micropolitan Statistical Area, made up of Scotts Bluff and Banner counties, posted a jobless rate of 4.3%...like Omaha, the same as in February and a year ago. Darold Davidson with Nebraska Workforce Development says the Scottsbluff area's rate is higher than the statewide average partly because the Westermn Sugar factory campaign is over and the slightly over 100 layoffs at Nationstar Mortage last month.

The statewide unemployment rate is adjusted for seasonal factors while the local rates are not, making any comparisons with the state numbers meaningless.

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