Like other state and local governments around the nation, Nevada is again hiring to fill positions long held vacant by budget cuts and the recession.
Personnel Director Lee Ann Easton said the state went from 1,611 recruitment announcements in 2010 to a projected 2,400 this year. She said that total doesn't include "unclassified" employees - primarily managers. But she said the numbers represent far more individual jobs, since each of those recruitments can be for multiple positions - especially in the area of public safety, which typically recruits for a whole class of cadets at a time.
"Over the last few years, we had to lose so many positions," she said. "We were finding that some agencies couldn't function with the cuts they took."
With the economy and revenues beginning to recover, there still isn't the money to fill every vacant post, but she said her office and the agencies have been working to identify critical positions.
Those, she said, "we're filling left and right."
Easton said the state is now down to some 17,500 legislatively approved positions from a peak of 19,213 in fiscal 2009 - a decrease of about 1,700.
However, according to a chart from Easton's office, about 1,500 of those 17,500 posts were vacant as of this week.
Carson City is also adding back a few jobs but, according to city Finance Director Nick Providenti, they're mostly grant-funded positions.
"Everything else has just been kind of flat," he said.
He said, however, that Carson City's government is in a different position than the state's.
"We haven't had very many people leave," he said.
Providenti presented a spreadsheet showing Carson City with a peak of 638 full-time equivalent positions in fiscal 2007. That total dropped just 79 positions to 559 in fiscal 2012.
The largest percentage of city employees are in public safety, and that's the area that took the largest hit - 40 of the 79 total.
According to the state Employment Security Division, the slow public-sector recovery is holding back economic recovery statewide, offsetting small but steady private sector gains - particularly in the state's tourism industry.
The numbers, especially the state trend, track most recent reports from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. A USA Today story quoting the government's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey says states, cities, counties and school districts added back 828,000 workers in the first four months of this year as tax collections began to improve.