Jobless numbers keep rising

Nevada's jobless rate rose to 13.2 percent in August, another new record.

It's the highest rate since unemployment figures started being kept more than 30 years ago.

The number is up seven-tenths of a percent from July, driven primarily by the Las Vegas area where 13.4 percent of the million-plus workforce was jobless.

In the north, the situation was - although not good - better.

Carson City's rate increased four-tenths from July to 12.1 percent of 30,200 in the labor force out of work.

Washoe County, reporting 28,400 out of work, seemed to be stabilizing with a rate of 12.4 percent, up just two-tenths from July.

The Elko reporting area continued to be the state's healthiest with just 6.6 percent of the labor force out of a job. That is down a tenth from July.

Several other rural counties were also in much better shape than the state as a whole. Churchill, Esmeralda, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Mineral and White Pine counties all reported unemployment rates of less than 10 percent.

In western Nevada, highest was Lyon at 15.8 percent followed by Storey at 14.9 percent. Douglas reported a jobless rate of 11.9 percent, fairly closely matching the situation in Carson City.

According to the Retail Association of Nevada, Nevada's jobless rate is now second only to Michigan, where 15.2 percent of the workforce is jobless.

The numbers translate into 183,000 of the 1.4 million workforce out of a job.

As a result, employment security administrator Cynthia Jones said her division is mailing out $35 million a week in unemployment checks. At that rate, she said the state's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund will be empty before the end of October.

Jones said Nevada is applying for $264 million in federal loans to cover unemployment checks through the end of the year.

Nevada isn't alone. Altogether, 27 states reported unemployment increases in August. The national rate is 9.7 percent.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said there are signs the national economy is beginning to stabilize.

Unfortunately, he said that conclusion can't be extended to Nevada, where economic recovery is expected to lag behind the nation as a whole.

Anderson said Nevada's recovery will depend on consumers again feeling confident enough to engage in discretionary spending.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the situation "underscores the importance of ensuring the state is doing everything it can to create jobs by putting the $2 billion in economic recovery funding to work as quickly as possible."

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