Unemployment at lowest level in nearly six years

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Nevada unemployment fell to its lowest level in nearly six years in May — 7.9 percent seasonally adjusted and just 7.7 percent without adjustment.

Seasonal adjustments take into account such annual events that impact employment numbers such as the start or end of the school year and Christmas retail hiring.

Statewide, there were 106,300 looking for work out of 1,37 million in the labor force.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said the total number of jobs grew by 8,300 in May, more than 2,400 above projections.

“Preliminary estimates so far this year suggest that job levels are trending in excess of 40,000 higher than a year ago,” he said. “The state’s job base is growing at a pace more than double the national average.”

The highest growth rate in May was in the construction industry, which added 7,000 jobs over the same month a year ago.

Overall, the unadjusted rate has fallen more than a percent in the first five months of this calendar year.

He said although unemployment is still well above the national rate of 6.3 percent, all indicators say the economy is on the mend.

Churchill County’s jobless rate was 6.5 percent in May, down 1.2 percent since January. Churchill reports just 830 looking for work in a labor pool of 12,650.

Carson City’s rate also hit its lowest point in years, finishing May at 8 percent, 2.1 percent lower than it was in May 2013. That is 2,100 jobless in a labor pool of 26,600 and a full 2 percent lower than reported in January. The capital showed a gain of more than 200 jobs in the leisure and hospitality area over the past year, nearly 100 over April.

The Reno-Sparks area did even better than the capital, reporting just 7.4 percent unemployment. That is 2.3 percent lower than a year ago and a full percent down since January. There are about 16,500 looking for work in Washoe County, which has a labor force of 224,000.

In Las Vegas, the rate was 7.9 percent with 78,000 looking for work in a labor pool of 992,900. The rate in Reno-Sparks is 1.5 percent lower than it was in January.

Elko continues to have the lowest unemployment rate among Nevada’s metropolitan reporting areas — 5.1 percent of 30,700 workers or 1,600 jobless.

Douglas County saw a similar decline with the percentage unemployed falling 1.6 percent in the five-month period to 8.4 percent. Some 1,760 are out of work in a pool of 20,920.

Lyon and Mineral counties are the only reporting areas left with double-digit unemployment rates. Lyon is 10.6 percent as of May but that is a significant improvement over the 12.9 percent reported for January. Mineral was at 10.3 percent in May compared with 11.9 percent in January.

The three lowest percentages reported by Nevada counties were Esmeralda (2.8 percent), Eureka (4.8 percent) and Lander (4.4 percent).


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