State unemployment rate drops a full percent in February

The percentage of workers without jobs dropped a full percent to 4.9 between January and February.

At the same time, the raw unemployment rate statewide went down from 4.5 percent to 3.8. Even when adjusted for seasonal employment changes such as college students leaving holiday jobs for spring classes, the statewide rate is just 3.7 percent, according to Carol Jackson of the Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation.

The Carson City area, which includes the capital, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties, has 53,380 workers, 50,750 of them holding jobs. That's a rate of 4.9 percent.

In Washoe County, there are an estimated 176,400 workers, all but 5,600 of them holding jobs. The rate in the Reno area was just 3.2 percent.

The statewide numbers are well below the national adjusted rate of 4.1 percent unemployment and California's 4.6 percent rate.

But the percentage of unemployed is above what Nevada recorded a year ago. In February 1999, the state listed just 3.5 percent out of work, and that was an increase over January's 3.3 percent.

It was December 1998 when the state recorded its lowest unemployment rate since 1957 - just 3.1 percent.

The total number of workers in Nevada continued to grow despite the loss of 1,200 mining jobs over the past year and another 1,500 construction jobs.

The losses were more than made up by gains in gaming and other service industries - some 30,200 more jobs in the past year - and trade, which increased its statewide totals by 13,700 jobs.

Among the new businesses adding to job totals in the area is Monolith Enterprises, which is planning four buildings totaling 65,000 square feet near the Minden Airport.

Statewide, employment security officials list Nevada as having a labor force of 960,400 with only 36,000 of them out of work.


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