While restaurants, hotels and casinos in the Reno area suffered big job losses this year as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the distribution business was hard-hit, too.
But recent reports show that the logistics sector has been bouncing back more quickly than any other part of the region’s economy.
That’s an important indicator, because jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities businesses — that’s the category created by state employment specialists — account for more than 20% of all the jobs in the Reno-Sparks region. More than 51,000 people work in those businesses.
Analysts with the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation say that the logistics sector added about 1,600 jobs during September alone. Because the distribution centers in the Reno-Sparks region provide inventory for stores across the West, as well as fulfilling online orders, the recovery reflects the nation’s economic rebound from the worst days of the pandemic.
Then, too, the logistics business always gears up in a big way to handle a flood of holiday-season orders.
Still, the surge in logistics jobs accounted for nearly three quarters of the employment growth in the region during September, the state analysts said.
The number of jobs in the region increased by a total of 2,200 during the month. Governments accounted for 1,100 of them. Professional and business services added 500. Another 300 new jobs came from health-care and education.
But two sectors of the economy that had held up well during the pandemic — manufacturing and construction — each showed some weakness during September. Construction lost 200 jobs, and its total employment has fallen 2.7% in the past year. Manufacturing lost 600 jobs, contributing to a 1.6% decline in employment in the past 12 months.
Leisure and hospitality businesses, which have trimmed their payrolls by 5,500 jobs over the past year, cut 500 jobs during September.
Overall, the Reno-Sparks economy in September was based on 235,800 jobs, the state analysts says. That’s a decline of 14,200 jobs — 5.7% of all employment — in the past year.
The region’s unemployment rate currently stands at 6.7%, more than double its level when the economy was roaring a year ago. On the other hand, it’s substantially better than the jobless rate of more than 20% during the pandemic shutdowns last spring.
The current unemployment rate translates into about 16,900 people who are looking for work.