Nevada’s unemployment rate fell to 9.6 percent in February, a 2.2 percent year-over-year drop that’s the largest of any state.
It also fell 0.1 percent from the previous month, reaching its lowest point since December 2008 and marking its 19th consecutive month of decline.
That is the seasonally adjusted rate. The raw rate, which is the rate reported for all individual markets in the state, was 9.8 percent in February.
That translates to 131,900 people looking for work in a labor force of 1.37 million.
The rates are lower in Nevada’s metropolitan areas. The rates for Las Vegas, at 9.8 percent, and Reno, at 10.1 percent, are both more than 2 percent lower than a year earlier. Carson City’s rate, which jumped up a full percentage point from December to 11.2 percent in January, dropped back down in February to 10.7 percent. That is nearly 2 percent lower than a year ago. The biggest difference in the numbers appeared to be the hiring of about 300 more people by state government.
Despite the statistical improvement, Economist Bill Anderson of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation said the state 5,500 lost jobs in February — the first time that has occurred in six months. Nonetheless, he said the number of total jobs is up nearly 24,000 over the past year.
Carson City’s total employment didn’t change in the past month. But unlike the rest of the state, Carson City has actually lost total jobs over the past year. The reason is the city’s heavy dependence on government jobs, which have continued to contract despite gains in the private sector statewide.
In a work force of 27,600 people, 3,000 are looking for work in the capital.
Gov. Brian Sandoval said he is pleased with the overall trend in the state. He added that because many Nevadans remain unemployed, “much work remains to be done.”
Churchill County saw a significant decrease in unemployment in February, with the rate dropping a half-percent to 8.6 percent compared with January.
That cut the number of unemployed by 70 people, to 1,090.
In Douglas County, the rate fell by 0.6 percent to 11.2 percent, a reduction of 130 in the unemployed rolls.
Lyon County, which saw its rate rise more than 1 percent in January, got some of that back in February as the rate fell 0.7 percent to 14.6 percent. There are still 3,110 people out of work there.