Nevada’s unemployment rate fell to 6.8 percent in December — the first time the overall rate has been that low since June 2008.
That’s the seasonally adjusted rate. The raw rate was just a tenth higher at 6.9 percent.
Employment Training and Rehabilitation Economist Bill Anderson said December typically brings a decline of 3,400 jobs in Nevada. But this year he said just 900 jobs were lost, resulting in the improvement in the seasonally adjusted number.
Carson City’s rate was also at a longtime low, with just 7 percent of the 25,900 in the workforce looking for a job. That’s two-tenths lower than November.
In fact, every major reporting area reported a decrease in December — generally by two tenths.
“I am pleased to see Nevadans are going back to work and employers are adding jobs, helping to strengthen our communities,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement. “There is still work to do, and I remain committed to continuing our efforts to build a strong and sustainable economy for future generations.”
Lowest is still the Elko area where unemployment was just 4.2 percent, followed by Reno-Sparks, which reported just 6.2 percent jobless.
By comparison, the nation as a whole was at just 5.6 percent seasonally adjusted while California remained higher than Nevada at 7.2 percent.
Anderson said all 17 Nevada counties reported rates below 10 percent for December. A year ago, four counties including Lyon were above 10 percent. At the height of the recession, there were 11 counties in double digits.
Anderson said the state’s improving economy is bringing more people back to the Silver State. The U.S. Census recently reported the state is now home to 2.84 million people, up from 2.79 million in 2013.
Statewide, the average unemployment rate for 2014 was 7.7 percent with just 105,100 looking for work.
For Las Vegas, the average rate was 7.8 percent compared to just 7.3 percent in Reno-Sparks.
In Carson City, the 2014 average was 8 percent — in part because of the high percentage of public employees in the capital.
Churchill County reported just 5.3 percent unemployment in December and 6.4 percent for the year with 800 out of 12,590 in the workforce jobless.
Douglas County reported 7 percent jobless in December and an average for the year of 8.2 percent. As of year’s end, there were 1,460 looking for work in a labor pool of 20,920.
Lyon County, which struggled through the recession with the state’s highest unemployment rate, finished 2014 at 8.7 percent unemployment. That’s 1,930 out of 22.160 in the workforce. But over the course of the year, Lyon was still an average of 10.4 percent.
The status as the worst unemployment in Nevada, however, went to Mineral County at year’s end. That reporting area finished 2014 at 9.7 percent jobless and an average 10.5 percent for the year.
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., called the report further proof the state’s economy is improving.
“The progress we have made since the recession is encouraging,” he said in a statement. “Still, there is more work to be done. We must continue to bring jobs to Nevada and pass sound economic policies so that all Nevadans feel these positive economic gains.”
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