State Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.5 in September Rate Remains Lowest in the Nation

Release Date: 10/20/2020

October 20, 2020

LINCOLN - The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) announced today that Nebraska’s preliminary unemployment rate for September is 3.5 percent, seasonally adjusted. The rate is down by 0.5 percentage points from the August 2020 rate of 4.0 percent and is up 0.5 percentage points from the September 2019 rate of 3.0 percent. The last time Nebraska’s rate was below 4 percent was February 2020, when the rate was 2.9 percent.

“Not only does the unemployment rate continue to drop, but Nebraska’s non-farm job count continues to increase,” said Commissioner of Labor John H. Albin. “Non-farm employment climbed above 1 million in September, the first time employment has reached this level since March of this year.”

Nonfarm employment was 1,002,511 in September, up 10,016 over the month and down 27,256 over the year. The month-to-month gain was the largest September increase since September 1976.  Private industries with the most growth year over year were education and health (up 1,840) and financial activities (up 1,204). Month to month, the largest gains were seen in education and health (up 2,274), professional and business services (up 1,696), and financial activities (up 490).

The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September is 7.9 percent, a decrease of 0.5 percentage points from the August 2020 rate of 8.4 percent and up 4.4 percentage points from the September 2019 rate of 3.5 percent.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued the following statement regarding claims data and unemployment estimates: “Data users must be cautious about trying to compare or reconcile the UI claims data with the official unemployment figures gathered through the household survey. The unemployment data derived from the household survey in no way depend upon the eligibility for or receipt of UI benefits. In some cases, UI claims data exclude people who would be identified as unemployed in the household survey, like new entrants to the labor force with no prior work experience. In other cases, UI data may include individuals who do not meet the CPS definition of unemployment.”

Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment and unemployment data can be found on the BLS website   October 2020 Nebraska data will be published Friday, November 20, 2020. More NDOL press releases are accessible here: