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Initial unemployment claims continue to drop but remain elevated in Nebraska
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Initial unemployment claims continue to drop but remain elevated in Nebraska

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Nebraska's initial unemployment claims continued a trend over the past few weeks of falling from a record high, but they still remain well above pre-pandemic levels.

For the week ending May 2, there were 6,555 initial claims in the state, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which was down nearly 1,700 compared with the prior week.

Continuing unemployment claims, which lag a week behind initial claims, grew to 76,628, up more than 4,000 from the previous week.

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The Nebraska Department of Labor has struggled to keep up with the claims, and state Labor Commissioner John Albin has even apologized for the fact that some people have had to wait weeks to get an unemployment payment.

On Thursday, Albin said his office has processed 94,000 claims since March 8 but has about 26,000 claims left to go. He said 81% of all claims filed have been processed and 71% have been paid.

The state has paid $75.2 million in regular state unemployment benefits and nearly $174 million in expanded federal benefits, including $164 million toward the extra $600 a week payment for which unemployed people are eligible.

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The Labor Department is paying Nelnet nearly $1.7 million to provide 100 employees to help process claims over the next couple of months. And Gov. Pete Ricketts issued an executive order allowing the department to only have to verify an applicant's most recent employer, rather than all employers the person has had over the past eight months.

Nationally, unemployment claims also continued to fall. Initial claims were 3.169 million, down 677,000 from the previous week.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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