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The local unemployment rate held steady in March while the state rate dropped slightly compared to a year ago.

Data released Friday by the Nebraska Department of Labor showed that the unemployment rate in the Lincoln Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Lancaster and Seward counties, was 2.6 percent in March, the same as it was in February and in March 2017.

The unemployment rate in all of Nebraska for March was 2.8 percent, which was the same as it was in February and 0.2 percentage points lower than it was a year ago.

According to the Labor Department, there were 174,212 people employed in the Lincoln area in March, which was about 1,200 more than a year ago. The number of people unemployed fell slightly, although it was not enough to affect the overall rate.

The number of jobs in the Lincoln area remained virtually the same in March compared with a year ago, increasing by just 31.

Statewide the numbers were a little better. The number of people employed during March was up nearly 5,800 over a year ago, while the number of people unemployed fell by 1,700.

The number of jobs in Nebraska was up 3,180 in March over March 2016.

Statewide, the industries with the most job growth year over year were manufacturing, professional and business services. In the Lincoln area, mining and construction, and trade, transportation and utilities were the industries with the most growth.

The state and local unemployment numbers both remained well below the national unemployment rate, which was 4.1 percent in March.

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

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/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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