CARSON CITY – Nevada’s unemployment rate fell to 11.8 percent in September, a decline of three-tenths of a percentage point from the 12.1 percent rate reported for August and a significant improvement from September 2011’s reading of 13.6 percent, a state agency reported today.
The seasonally-adjusted rate remains above the 11.6 percent figure reported in May, which was a three-year low.
September’s household survey showed more Nevadans are working, partly contributing to the decline in the rate of unemployment, said Bill Anderson, chief economist for Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. The 11.8 percent rate equates to a seasonally adjusted 161,600 individuals still unemployed, he said.
Bill Anderson, chief economist for the state Research and Analysis Bureau. Image provided by Nevada News Bureau.
The number of Nevadans out of work fell by 4,300 in September, which is partly due to some falling out of the workforce, as well as people obtaining employment.
“Nevada’s economy and our labor markets are on the mend,” Anderson said. “We’re moving forward at a modest pace. It’s best not to get too worried about what happened in July when the rate jumped a few tenths of a point. And I’d also suggest not to get too excited about the decline in the rate from August to September. You average it all together and we’re slowly on the mend.”
Unfortunately there are lagging sectors in the private employment picture, most notably in construction, which are holding back the state’s overall numbers, he said.
Gov. Brian Sandoval said he is encouraged by September’s job growth and the slight decrease in the jobless rate.
“I am also pleased that export activity is up one-third over last year and that Nevada is taking an increased role in the world’s economy,” he said. “This news further validates our efforts to reach out to foreign countries, which we will continue to do.”
Sandoval led a trade mission to the People’s Republic of China and South Korea in September.
Amongst the state’s three largest population centers, the Las Vegas metro area is home to the highest unemployment rate in the state, at 11.5 percent, which is not seasonally adjusted and so not comparable to the statewide adjusted rate. This is down from 12.3 percent in August and, more importantly, from the 14 percent reported a year ago.
In Reno/Sparks the rate fell 0.7 of a point, to 10.8 percent. A year ago, the region’s jobless rate stood at 12.9 percent. Carson City is home to a 10.9 percent rate, down from 11.5 percent in August and 12.8 percent last year.
“The news is encouraging, as a year ago, there were an estimated 188,300 Nevadans counted as unemployed,” Anderson said. “Monthly measures are subject to wide swings, and it is perhaps best not to put too much weight behind that volatility; however, when evaluated as a whole, the economy is slowly moving in a positive direction.”
Typically during the month, about 7,500 jobs (not seasonally adjusted) are added in the state, the majority of them in the public sector coinciding with the start of a new academic year. This year, however, 14,600 jobs were added, resulting in a seasonally adjusted gain of 7,100. Through the first three quarters of the year, private sector jobs are up by more than 12,000 compared to the same period last year.
Additionally, more jobs are expected to be added during the holiday season, making modest gains over last year, Anderson said. From September to December 2011, Nevada added 4,100 jobs, however prior to the recession, seasonal job gains approached 9,000 during the holiday hiring period.
The good news on the jobless front is expected to continue, he said, after the agency reported Thursday that initial claims for unemployment insurance fell in September to their lowest level in five years, dropping to under 14,000 in a month for the first time since September 2007.
Initial jobless claims are a leading indicator and suggest improvement going forward in the near term, Anderson said.