RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Nevada is one of only 15 states that have gained jobs since the recession began in March 2001, a new report shows.
While the country lost 2.7 million jobs between March 2001 and July 2003, Nevada gained 18,700 jobs, the study by the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute found.
Despite losing 15,000 casino jobs after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, Nevada showed recent job gains in the retail and health care sectors, said Jim Shabi, economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
Job growth should accelerate with new casino projects in Las Vegas and expanded warehouse business in Reno, he said.
Nevada officials are getting more inquiries from California companies seeking to relocate because of soaring workers' compensation premiums, Shabi added.
"We are rebounding -- there is no question," Shabi told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "We stand a very good chance of being the fastest in job growth on a percentage basis in the nation."
Since 2001, Nevada has been the fourth fastest job producing state behind Alaska, Hawaii and New Mexico.
But Nevada's job creation has lagged behind population growth, and its unemployment rate hit 5.4 percent in July, the most recent figures available.
Nationwide, the jobless rate fell from 6.2 percent to 6.1 percent in August -- even as companies slashed payrolls by 93,000.
August was the seventh consecutive month of cuts in payrolls, indicating continued weakness in the job market. Analysts had expected companies to add 12,000 new jobs.