LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's unemployment held steady last month at 3% and the state is tied with South Dakota for the nation's lowest rate, according to data released Tuesday.

The state Department of Labor said Nebraska's rate hasn't changed since October and is the same as the rate from September to December 2019.

“Nebraska employment has recovered significantly since April, which was the peak for employment losses due to the pandemic,” said Nebraska Commissioner of Labor John Albin.

Albin said the state has added more than 71,000 nonfarm jobs since April, for a total of roughly 1 million in December.

The low unemployment rate is likely due to a combination of factors, including major industries in Nebraska that weren't hit as hard by the pandemic and unemployed people who aren't counted because they've stopped looking for jobs and no longer qualify for unemployment.

Nonfarm employment was up 5,394 over the month, the largest December increase ever, but down 21,403 over the year. Private industries with the most growth year over year were education and health, financial activities and mining and construction.

The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December is 6.7%, the same as the November rate and up from the December 2019 rate of 3.6%.

The Omaha area matched Nebraska's 3% unemployment rate, while the Lincoln area's rate was 2.9% and the Grand Island arean's was 4.4% for the month.