Unemployment hits hardest at men, minority groups, the young

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Nevada's jobless rate of 12.9 percent is tough enough, but it's a heck of a lot tougher on some groups than others.

Men, for instance, are substantially more likely than women to be unemployed in the state.

The unemployment rate for minority-group workers - particularly for blacks - is much higher than the already high jobless rate among other workers.

And if you're young? Good luck with that.

The Research and Analysis Bureau of the Nevada Department of Employment, Rehabilitation and Training last week took a deeper look at the unemployment rate in the state, which is the highest in the nation. A big finding: The unemployment rate for men statewide is 15 percent compared to 11.8 percent for women.

"Traditionally male-dominated industries such as construction have lost the most jobs during the recession, while female-dominated industries have fared better overall," the DETR research team wrote.

Among the sectors with a strong female presence that have held up relatively well during the recession are health-care and education, said Jered McDonald, an economist with the Research and Analysis Bureau.

The gender gap has closed a bit in recent months, partly because more men are getting back to work, but also because the jobless rate among women in the state is creeping upward.

The jobless rate for black workers in Nevada, however, continues to grow more quickly than unemployment among other groups.

In July, the jobless rate among blacks in the labor force was 18.6 percent in Nevada, and it had increased by eight-tenths of a percentage point in the previous month.

Among Hispanics in Nevada, an estimated 15.9 percent were searching for work in July. That's a decline of 0.3 percent from a month earlier. Among whites, the jobless rate stood 12.9 percent statewide in July. Young workers, meanwhile, continue to be ravaged by the effects of the recession.

The state's researchers estimate that the jobless rate among workers aged 16-24 stood at 22.1 percent in July. That's remained stubbornly high - at times nearing 24 percent - for more than a year.

Among workers aged 25-34, the jobless rate has been running about 12.7 percent in the past couple of months. For older workers, the jobless rate is 12.3 percent, the researchers said.

A couple of indexes developed by state researchers to get a better handle on employment trends show an essentially flat market - a relatively weak employment market in the state this summer, a mixed outlook for the next few months.

What puzzles researchers is persistence of high unemployment even though the factors that typically point to growth - taxable sales, visitor volume and gaming win - are on the upswing statewide.

And they noted once again that the well-publicized monthly unemployment figures in Nevada don't include discouraged workers who have given up the search for work or partially employed folks who want fulltime work.

Once those people are folded into the figures, they add about 10 percentage points to Nevada's unemployment rate - creating an actual unemployment rate of more than 23 percent, compared with a reported jobless rate of 13.9 percent in the 12 months that ended in June.

Even the bright spot in the state's employment picture - the strong job markets in the mining counties of northeastern Nevada - paints a mixed picture for Nevada a whole, the researchers said.

In the Elko area, the jobless rate has been running about 7.4 percent lately, and the number of people working in the region has increased by more than 3 percent in the past year.

But the same uncertainty in the world economy that is driving gold prices higher and supercharging the northeast Nevada economy may hurt the state's economy as a whole, researchers said.

McDonald said researchers don't have good historic data that would allow comparison of the jobless figures among races and age groups in previous economic downturns in the state.


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