June showed no change in Nevada’s unemployment rate, which held steady at a seasonally adjusted 11.6 percent. While not directly comparable to the state figure, the unemployment rate in each of the state’s three metropolitan areas saw a slight seasonal increase, which is to be expected, said Bill Anderson, chief economist for Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).
According to a DETR report released last week, the state is experiencing steady job growth. In June, the state saw a seasonally adjusted gain of 200 jobs in the private sector compared to May.
Relative to a year ago, private sector job readings are up 17,500 in June, the strongest gain recorded so far in 2012, Anderson said. For the entire first half of the year, 14,000 jobs have been added in Nevada’s private sector establishments. This is on top of approximately 12,000 new jobs in 2011.
“This month’s employment numbers indicate the economy is continuing to grow at a slow but modest pace,” said Governor Brian Sandoval in a written statement. “I am encouraged by the fact that this is the 12th straight month of positive news, but we must continue working to support job growth by bringing new business to Nevada and allowing existing businesses to be successful.”
Las Vegas continues to hold the highest jobless rate amongst the state’s three population centers, at 12.1 percent, up from 11.8 percent in May. In Reno, the unemployment rate stood at 11.7 percent, up from May’s 11.5 percent reading. Carson City’s unemployment rate, at 11.8 percent, is up from 11.6 percent. Lander (5.7 percent on a year-to-date basis), Esmeralda (6.1 percent), and Eureka (6.2 percent) continue to have the lowest unemployment rates in the State. Lyon (16 percent so far this year) and Nye (14.8 percent) have the highest jobless rates.
The decline in the unemployment rate over the past year, translates to a decline of 26,000 unemployed individuals relative to the first half of 2011, Anderson said. Through the first six months of this year, the number of unemployed in the state has averaged 163,900.
“Renewed job growth in the state’s largest industry, leisure/hospitality, driven largely by more than two years of nearly non-stop visitation gains in southern Nevada, has been well-publicized,” Anderson said. “Since reaching a recessionary low of a seasonally adjusted 304,500 in November 2009, nearly 20,000 jobs have been added in this industry.”
Other industries are also exhibiting some modest improvement. Professional/business services jobs stand 5,000 higher than a year ago in June. This marks the 26th month out of the past 27 that a year-over-year gain has been recorded. Health care/social assistance jobs are up by a seasonally adjusted 1,200 from May-June, and stand 3,100 higher than a year ago. Trade/transportation/utilities jobs have increased nearly non-stop since late-2010, but growth has been constrained, hovering at less than two percent on an annualized basis.
“While we did not see much change for the month, we are still encouraged that the economy is indeed on the mend,” said DETR Director Frank Woodbeck about June’s unemployment numbers. “The rate of unemployment is still unacceptably high, and we are diligently working to do what we can on our end to further propel us in the right direction. Our goal is to attract diverse businesses to the state to provide broader employment opportunities, especially since the construction industry continues to lag greatly.”
Anderson said construction jobs remained unchanged from May, but are off by 3,300 through the first half of the year relative to 2011. Continued difficulties in the financial activities sector are at least partially related to the weakness in construction. An additional 1,700 jobs have been lost in these establishments relative to June 2011, he said.