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Nevada’s unemployment rate falls to 12.7 percent in January but jobs picture remains mixed


By Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau: Nevada’s jobless rate fell from a revised 13 percent in December to 12.7 percent in January, down from 13.8 percent a year ago and a peak of 14 percent in October 2010. The number of unemployed Nevadans remained relatively flat at 174,700, but is down 16,300 from the same month last year.

“Nevada continues to show signs of economic recovery, with slow but steady growth in many important areas” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in commenting on the report released by the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). “I continue to be encouraged by the job creation in key sectors as we work to meet the challenge of creating 50,000 jobs by the end of 2014.”

The improvement in January is based on a revised unemployment rate of 13 percent in December. The rate was initially reported as 12.6 percent when the December rate was announced in January. The rate is seasonally adjusted.

The construction industry remains sluggish in Nevada. / Photo from the National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons.

The report shows that changes in the unemployment rates in the state’s urban areas were mixed in January. In Las Vegas, the unemployment rate declined from 13.3 percent in December to 13.1 percent. Over-the-year, the rate is down by 1.3 percentage points.

In the state’s northern metro areas, the unemployment rate increased by six-tenths to 13 percent in the Reno-Sparks area and by seven-tenths to 13.5 percent in Carson City. Reno’s unemployment rate is down by 1.2 percentage points from the previous year and Carson City’s is down by one percentage point. The unemployment rate in the Elko area increased from 6.4 percent to 7.3 in January and is down three-tenths from the previous year.

“Employers added a seasonally adjusted 1,800 payroll jobs,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist for DETR. “It marks the 12th time in the past 13 months that employment has grown on a year-over-year basis. Nevada’s labor markets continued on a path of moderate improvement in January, but Nevada’s unemployment rate is 4.4 percentage points higher than the nation’s 8.3 percent.”

A broader measure of unemployment, which includes partially unemployed and discouraged workers, declined to 22.7 percent on average in 2011, down six-tenths of a percentage point from its previous reading.

“With the addition of 1,800 jobs in January, employment levels are up by 9,000 compared to a year ago, a 0.8 percent increase,” Anderson said. “Private sector employment continues to lead the way. Non-government employers added over 2,000 jobs in January, with the largest employment gains occurring in construction (+1,400), professional and business services (+1,000), and leisure and hospitality (+400).

“Although construction gained employment in January, year-over-year employment has been consistently negative for the past 63 months, or since November 2006,” he said. “On an over the year basis, construction is down 4,800 jobs or 8.1 percent.”

Anderson said many of Nevada’s important economic indicators continue to move into positive territory, hitting levels not seen since the start of the recession in December 2007.

He noted that taxable sales are up seven percent, marking its largest gain since 2005. Gaming win is up 3.7 percent, for its best showing since 2006. Las Vegas visitor volume is up 4.3 percent for all of 2011, marking its strongest gain in seven years.

Audio clips:

Bill Anderson with DETR says Nevada’s economic indicators are improving:

031212Anderson1 :31 trend right now.”

Anderson says signs of modest improvement began in late 2011:

031212Anderson2 :24 the jobless rate.”

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