State jobless rate up slightly from February to March

While still a full 2 percent lower than a year ago, Nevada’s unemployment rate ticked up 0.1 percent in March compared with February, finishing at 9.7 percent.

That is the seasonally adjusted rate. The raw rate — the number listed for all individual reporting areas in the state — was flat at 9.8 percent.

The Las Vegas area’s rate remained 9.8 percent in March.

In Reno-Sparks and Carson City, the numbers dipped 0.1 percent to 10 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively.

Generally, the Carson City number has been higher than those in other reporting areas because of the capital’s heavy reliance on the public-employment sector, which isn’t recovering as quickly as the private sector.

The reason for the difference between the seasonally adjusted and raw numbers is that, typically, jobs expand by about 7,300 in March.

This year, that increase was only 4,400 jobs.

“Job growth seems to be slowing a bit after exceeding expectations in the second half of 2012,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

Even so, he said growth for the first three months of the year is 2.3 percent better than the same period last year.

The jobless number translates to 134,600 people looking for work statewide. Some 97,000 of those are in Clark County.

Carson City reports 2,900 looking for work, while in Reno-Sparks, 22,100 are jobless. Service industries added about 200 workers to the capital’s work force over the month, half of them hired by state government.

In Churchill County, the jobless rate fell 0.1 percent to 8.6 percent. That translates to 1,100 people seeking employment.

Douglas County saw an improvement of 0.4 percent, dropping to 11.1 percent jobless in March. Some 2,300 of 20,810 in the work force are without employment.

Lyon County, which still has the state’s highest unemployment rate, saw a half-percent improvement, dropping to 14.2 percent with 3,020 out of 21,250 out of work.

Gov. Brian Sandoval pointed out that, while March numbers seem to backslide, “overall, I’m pleased with the general direction of the state’s labor market.”

He said the slight increase for March underscores that the recovery remains fragile.

An encouraging sign is that initial unemployment claims have fallen for 37 of the past 40 months, Anderson said.


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