LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska's preliminary unemployment rate hit 3.8 percent in May, a tenth of a point higher than the 3.7 percent in April, the Nebraska Labor Department said in a report released Friday.
The rate was two-tenths of a point lower than the 4 percent in May 2012.
The national rate also increased a tenth of a point last month, to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent in April.
The Nebraska increase did not appear to trouble the state labor commissioner.
"While the unemployment rate has increased slightly, the preliminary data clearly indicates that the increase is in part due to discouraged job seekers re-entering the labor market to begin looking for jobs again," said Commissioner Catherine Lang.
The state's May rate was the second-lowest figure in the country, trailing only North Dakota's 3.2 percent.
Nebraska reported an increase in nonfarm employment of more than 14,300 jobs in the past month.
The three industries showing the largest gains were leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and trade, transportation and utilities.
The number of unemployed Nebraskans rose to 39,440 in May from 38,617 in April. A year ago the figure was 40,484, the department report said.
In Nebraska's largest city, Omaha, preliminary unemployment rose to 4.1 percent from 4 percent in April. The rate a year ago was 4.3 percent. Lincoln's preliminary May unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, two-tenths of a point higher than the revised figure of 3.3 percent in April. A year ago the city's May rate was 3.4 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 May, followed by the revised April rates:
— Beatrice: 4.0, 3.8
— Columbus: 3.3, 3.1
— Fremont: 3.9, 3.9
—Grand Island: 3.5, 3.3
— Hastings: 3.5, 3.4
— Kearney: 3.1, 3.0
— Lexington: 3.8, 3.6
— Norfolk: 3.5, 3.2
— North Platte: 3.3, 3.1
— Red Willow: 3.2, 2.9
— Scotts Bluff: 4.3, 4.1
Nebraska Department of Labor: http://www.dol.nebraska.gov
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