In May, Nevada’s unemployment rate reached its lowest level since 2008, as the seasonally adjusted number dropped 0.1 percent from April to 9.5 percent.
The raw, unadjusted number went down a 0.3 percent from April to just 9.2 percent.
Gov. Brian Sandoval said the improved numbers, coupled with the slight reduction in new unemployment claims statewide, indicates that the job climate is improving.
“However, even though employment so far this year is nearly 25,000 jobs higher than a year ago, the pace of hiring activity remains cautious,” he said.
Churchill County reported a decrease in unemployment from 8.3 percent to 7.7 percent from April to May. Out of a workforce of 12,830, 990 people were unemployed.
Neighboring Lyon County still has the state’s highest unemployment rate, at 12.5 percent. But that is 0.9 percent lower than April.
The Carson City reporting area showed the most dramatic improvement, falling from 10.1 percent to 9.5 percent by the end of May. Reno-Sparks dipped a full half-percent to 9.2 percent, and Las Vegas three-tenths to 9.3 percent.
Those rates are all significantly lower than in January.
Carson City’s rate was 11.2 percent, Reno’s was 10.5 percent and Las Vegas was at 10.2 percent.
Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said cautious optimism about the state’s economy is attracting more people into the labor force. But he pointed out that the number of part-time jobs in Nevada is still near all-time high levels, meaning many employed Nevadans are still under-employed.
There are still 131,400 looking for work in Nevada.
The lowest rates are in mining counties: 5.2 percent in Elko, 6.9 percent in White Pine and 3.8 percent in Esmeralda.
Douglas County’s rate was 10.1 percent, but that is 0.7 percent below the April rate.