CARSON CITY – Nevada’s unemployment rate for October dropped to a seasonally adjusted 11.5 percent, down from 11.8 percent in September, the lowest it’s been in three and a half years, a state agency reported yesterday.
The Las Vegas metro area still holds the highest unemployment rate in the state, at 11.1 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down 0.4 percentage points from September, said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).
In the Reno-Sparks area the rate fell 0.2 percentage points over the month, to 10.6 percent. Carson City recorded a similar decline, from 10.9 percent to 10.7 percent. Las Vegas and both Northern Nevada metro areas all recorded their lowest October readings since 2008, he said.
Construction workers. / Paul Keheler via Wikimedia Commons.
Through the first ten months of the year, the unemployment rate averaged 11.9 percent. This is down nearly two full percentage points from the same period in 2011, which was 13.7 percent.
“October’s unemployment rate is the lowest rate since May of 2009, a significant step for our state,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval in a statement. “While this news is welcome, our state’s unemployment rate remains at a high level and continues to indicate the need for sustained economic diversification and private sector job growth.”
In October, a gain 2,500 new positions are typically expected compared to September, but preliminary estimates point to a gain of 4,700 jobs, Anderson said. Seasonally adjusted, this is an increase of 2,200 jobs.
Private sector job levels stand 1,200 higher than the prior month and 3,200 above year-ago readings. So far this year, private sector payrolls are up 11,100 compared to the first ten months of 2011, based upon estimates from the monthly survey of businesses.
Public sector payrolls have shown signs of leveling off in recent months, following an extended downturn.
“All things considered, available information suggests that Nevada’s labor market has been on the mend since right around the beginning of 2011,” Anderson said. “One of the broadest barometers of economic well-being, average weekly wages, has followed suit. After two years of outright declines during the recession, wages have been trending up ever since. Despite some weakness in this year’s second quarter, through the first half of the year, wages are up 2.6 percent from the same six-month period in 2011. So far this year, wages have averaged $830 per week.”