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Nebraska's April jobless rate falls to 3.7 percent

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska's preliminary unemployment rate decreased to 3.7 percent in April after registering 3.8 percent for four straight months, the Nebraska Labor Department said in a report released Friday.

The rate was three-tenths of a point lower than in April 2012 and less than half the national April rate of 7.5 percent for this year, the department said. The 3.7 percent was the second-lowest figure in the country, trailing only North Dakota's 3.3 percent for April.

Nebraska reported an increase in nonfarm employment of more than 9,600 jobs in the past month.

"Manufacturing grew by more than three percent from last April, another good sign for Nebraska's economy," said state Labor Commissioner Catherine Lang.

The three industries showing the largest gains were leisure and hospitality, mining and construction, and manufacturing.

The number of unemployed Nebraskans dropped to 38,837 from 38,895 in March. A year ago the figure was 40,225.

In Nebraska's largest city, Omaha, preliminary unemployment dropped to 4 percent from 4.3 percent in March. The rate a year ago was 4.2 percent. Lincoln's preliminary April unemployment rate was 3.4 percent, matching the revised figure of 3.4 percent in March. A year ago the city's April rate was 3.3 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 April, followed by the revised March rates:

— Beatrice: 3.8, 4.0

— Columbus: 3.2, 3.2

— Fremont: 3.9, 4.1

—Grand Island: 3.5, 3.5

— Hastings: 3.5, 3.6

— Kearney: 3.0, 3.1

— Lexington: 3.9, 4.0

— Norfolk: 3.3, 3.6

— North Platte: 3.2, 3.4

— Red Willow: 3.0, 3.1

— Scotts Bluff: 4.2, 4.2