Unemployment in Nevada fell in November for the second month in a row, to 12.3 percent. But experts cautioned the dip in out-of-work Nevadans isn't necessarily a sign the economy is recovering.
"A more detailed review of the components of the unemployment rate reveals a troubling trend," said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
He said the total state labor force contracted by 13,900 workers. He said those workers either left the state or "were too discouraged to seek employment."
There are now 161,400 people listed as unemployed in Nevada out of the 1.37 million in the statewide labor force.
The agency revised October's rate slightly, from 13 percent to 12.9 percent. Nationally the jobless rate is 10 percent.
Anderson said both public and private sector employment continued to fall as the state lost 9,200 jobs in November. Nearly all of that damage occurred in the Las Vegas area, which reported 8,800 fewer jobs despite the partial opening of the massive City Center complex. The unemployment rate there was 12.1 percent for November, down nine-tenths from a month earlier.
In Carson City, the unemployment rate fell six-tenths to 11.2 percent. But with 300 fewer in the labor force, the number of people holding jobs in the capital also went down, albeit by just 70.
The capital has an estimated 3,300 out of work in a labor force of 29,300.
In the Reno/Sparks reporting area, which includes Storey County, the rate fell nine-tenths to 11.3 percent with 25,500 out of work.
Douglas County saw a three-tenths reduction in unemployment to 11.8 percent. Churchill's rate fell six-tenths to 8.7 percent. Lyon County's rate fell seven-tenths to 14.5 percent.
Anderson blamed the ongoing budget woes at both the state and local levels of government for the loss of some 2,100 public sector jobs.
With mining booming and the price of gold above $1,200 an ounce, Elko fared best of the reporting areas in Nevada. The unemployment rate there finished November at just 5.9 percent, a half percent lower than in October.
Anderson said even if the national economy begins to show signs of improvement, it will take longer to see it in Nevada because the state's tourism industry must wait for people to become comfortable spending again.
"Nothing says discretionary spending like a trip to Las Vegas," he said. Tourism "fell further and faster than the economy as a whole and will likely take longer to rebound."