The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) announced today that Nebraska’s preliminary unemployment rate for March was 4.2 percent, seasonally adjusted. The rate was up 1.3 percentage points from the February 2020 rate of 2.9 percent and is up 1.1 percentage points from the March 2019 rate of 3.1 percent. Labor force and total non-farm employment data is based upon a reference week, which includes the 12th of the month (March 8-March 14).
Unemployment rate data for Nebraska goes back to 1976 and the increase in the unemployment rate of 1.3 percentage points over the month was the largest monthly increase ever. The last time Nebraska had an unemployment rate of 4.2% was in November and December of 2011.
“Unemployment claims in March accelerated as the month progressed due to COVID-19 having a significant impact on businesses,” said Commissioner of Labor John H. Albin. “New claims peaked the week ending April 4.”
Through the first four weeks of elevated initial unemployment insurance claims, the industries most impacted have been accommodation and food services (16,596 initial claims); health care and social assistances (10,856); and retail trade (10.032). Over the past four weeks, 82,682 initial claims have been filed. There were 41,727 filed in the entire 2019 calendar year. Spreadsheets showing claims data are available here and will be updated every Thursday.
The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 4.4 percent, an increase of 0.9 percentage points from the February 2020 rate of 3.5 percent and up 0.6 percentage points from the March 2019 rate of 3.8 percent. April 2020 Nebraska data will be published Friday, May 15.
Benchmarked 2018-2019 Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program data will be available later today at NEworks.nebraska.gov. Benchmarked Current Employment Statistics (CES) program data is currently available on NEworks. For more March 2020 Nebraska data, go to dol.nebraska.gov/InfoLink.
Nonfarm employment data can be found at NEworks.nebraska.gov/CES and Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) data can be found at NEworks.nebraska.gov/LAUS.
More information on COVIDd-19 impacts on employment and unemployment can be found at www.bls.gov/cps/employment-situation-covid19-faq-march-2020.pdf.