Nebraska's jobless rate hit 3.9 pct in September

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska's unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent in September, a tenth of a percentage point under the August and July figure of 4 percent, the state Labor Department said in a report released Friday.

The preliminary figure of 3.9 percent was half the national rate of 7.8 percent for last month and a half percentage point lower than the state's September 2011 rate of 4.4 percent. The national rate was 8.1 percent in August.

"September is the fourth month so far this year that the state unemployment rate has dipped below 4 percent," said state Labor Commissioner Catherine Lang. "We have not seen the rate below 4 percent this often since 2008, prior to the recession."

Only North Dakota's September rate of 3 percent was lower than Nebraska's.

The report said the number of unemployed people in Nebraska was estimated at 39,708 in September, compared with 40,927 in August and 40,674 in July.

Unemployment in the state's largest city, Omaha, dropped to 3.8 percent. That's a half percentage point lower than the revised August figure of 4.3 percent. A year ago the September figure was 4.7 percent.

In Lincoln, the rate dropped to 3 percent from a revised figure of 3.4 percent in August. A year ago the September rate was 3.8 percent.

The unemployment rates for Lincoln and Omaha are not seasonally adjusted, the department has said, so they cannot be directly compared to the state unemployment rate.

Here are preliminary area labor market unemployment rates for September, followed by the revised August rates:

_ Beatrice: 4.1, 4.6

_ Columbus: 3.0, 3.2

_ Fremont: 3.8, 4.2

_ Grand Island: 3.2, 3.6

_ Hastings: 3.1, 3.5

_ Kearney: 2.6, 2.9

_ Lexington: 3.7, 4.0

_ Norfolk: 3.0, 3.4

_ North Platte: 2.8, 3.2

_ Red Willow: 2.9, 3.6

_ Scotts Bluff: 3.8, 4.2