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Federal report sheds light on Nevada’s dismal 2010 unemployment picture

By ThisIsReno

By Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau: The fact that Nevada has the worst unemployment rate in the nation isn’t exactly news, but a report released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides an in-depth picture of just how bad it was in 2010.

The report shows that Nevada’s “actual” unemployment rate for the calendar year was 23.6 percent, with California second at 22.1 percent.

The actual unemployment rate shows a much worse jobless situation both in Nevada and nationally because it uses a broader definition that encompasses workers who are too discouraged to seek employment and have given up searching, and workers employed part time for economic reasons.

Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those working less than 35 hours per week who want to work full time, are available to do so, and gave an economic reason (their hours had been cut back or they were unable to find a full-time job) for working part time, the bureau reports. These individuals are sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers.

Using this measure, nearly one in four Nevadans was unemployed or “underemployed” in 2010.

The rate is one of six “alternative measures of labor under-utilization” generated by the bureau, another of which is the much lower official monthly unemployment rate.

The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, which announces the official monthly unemployment rate for the state, had this to say about the actual unemployment rate when it cited the figure in a release last year, “. . . from a policy perspective, the actual unemployment rate presents a more complete picture of what is currently occurring in the economy.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics report also shows that by any one of six different measures of unemployment in 2010, Nevada ranked the worst.

“In 2010, Nevada reported the highest rate for all six alternative measures of labor under-utilization,” the report says.

Nevada reported last week that the official unemployment rate in December was 14.5 percent, up two-tenths of a percentage point over November. Nevada again had the highest rate in the nation, followed by California and Florida.

For the 2010 calendar year, Nevada averaged 14.4 percent unemployment, again, highest in the nation.