OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska's preliminary unemployment rate remained unchanged in December, matching the 3.7 percent in November, the state Labor Department said in a report Friday.
The rate was half a point lower than the 4.2 percent in December 2011 and was less than half the national rate of 7.8 percent last month, the department said. It also was the second-lowest figure in the country, trailing only North Dakota's 3.2 percent.
Labor Commissioner Catherine Lang said the state's "stable and diverse economy has contributed to a steady, and consistently low, unemployment rate."
The number of unemployed people in Nebraska was estimated at 38,540 in December, which is higher than the revised November figure of 38,183 but far lower than the 42,947 in December last year.
The number of people with jobs in Nebraska last month was estimated at nearly 1.03 million, compared with nearly 1.025 million in November. A year ago, the figure was nearly 1.017 million
In Nebraska's largest city, Omaha, the preliminary unemployment rate rose to 4.1 percent, up four-tenths of a point from the 3.7 percent in November. The December rate was 4.7 percent a year ago.
In Lincoln the unemployment rate also rose in December. It hit 3.4 percent, compared with 3 percent in November. A year ago the December rate was 3.6 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 December, followed by the revised November rates:
— Beatrice: 4.5, 4.0
— Columbus: 3.3, 3.0
— Fremont: 4.1, 3.7
— Grand Island: 3.7, 3.8
— Hastings: 3.7, 3.1
— Kearney: 3.0, 2.5
— Lexington: 4.4, 4.0
— Norfolk: 3.5, 2.9
— North Platte: 3.4, 2.9
— Red Willow: 3.4, 3.0
— Scotts Bluff: 4.3, 4.0
Nebraska Department of Labor: http://www.dol.nebraska.gov