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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's unemployment rate remained unchanged in January, matching the 3.8 percent unemployment seen in December, the state Labor Department reported Thursday.
The rate was less than half a percentage point lower than the 4.1 percent in January 2012 and was less than half the national rate of 7.9 percent in January, the department said. In December, Nebraska's unemployment rate was the second-lowest in the country, trailing only North Dakota. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics had not released its compilation of states' January unemployment statistics by Thursday.
"Not only does Nebraska's unemployment rate continue to be one of the lowest in the country, but there has also been a $31 million decrease in unemployment benefits paid from 2011 to 2012," Nebraska Labor Commissioner Catherine Lang said in a written statement.
The number of unemployed people in Nebraska was estimated at 39,574 in January, which is higher than the revised December figure of 38,894, but lower than the 41,215 in January last year.
The number of people with jobs in Nebraska in January was estimated at nearly 1,042,000, compared with nearly 1,036,000 in December. A year ago, the figure was nearly 1,009,000.
In Nebraska's largest city, Omaha, the preliminary unemployment rate rose to 5 percent, up from 4.1 percent in December but the same as in January a year ago.
In Lincoln, the unemployment rate also rose in January to 4.2, up from 3.4 percent in December. A year ago, the January 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 January, followed by the revised December rates: