Nevada recovery erases recession losses
Nevada’s economic recovery has more than erased the losses suffered during the recession but, more than that, the experts say the state’s economy is now more broad-based and, therefore, recession resistant than it was in 2007.
Economists from the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation told the Employment Security Council this past week the state has added 236,400 jobs, far more than the 186,000 lost in the recession.
That brings total employment in Nevada to a record 1.35 million and more than 100,000 of those new or restored jobs are at small businesses.
The state also has a record high number of private businesses at some 71,000 and the average weekly wage in Nevada is also the highest ever at $931.
But more importantly according to Chief Economist Bill Anderson is that the recovery isn’t confined to just one or two sectors of the economy.
“Recovery is broad-based and diversified,” he said. “It’s every sector of our economy, not clustered in those two historical drivers we’ve always had,” he said referring to the tourist industry and construction.
“We are now at record high levels of employment with about 60,000 fewer construction jobs,” Anderson told the council.
And while construction has rebounded, it’s professional services that leads the way with 10,000 new jobs so far in just this year.
“Prior to the recession, we were growing at 6 percent a year,” he said. “You can’t sustain that. Now we’re growing at 3 percent.”
In addition, Anderson said that, contrary to what some had earlier feared, those new jobs aren’t part time.
“Essentially all our new job growth has been full-time in nature,” he said. “Part-time employment is essentially holding steady.”
Economist Alex Capello said other indicators include the fact that the unemployed are now out of work just 13½ weeks on average compared to 19 weeks during the peak of the recession. And the percentage of the jobless that use up all their benefits without finding work has fallen to 35 percent from more than 60 percent.
In addition, the number of new monthly claims for unemployment insurance has dropped to 11,100 from a peak of 28,600 per month.
“We’re in a different situation than we’ve been in for several years,” he said.
Anderson said that gives him and his staff the confidence to say that they don’t see a recession coming at this point.
“We’re not seeing the same kind of bottlenecks that we saw prior to the last recession.”
He again pointed to construction saying that, before the recession, the construction industry’s share of employment was about double the national average.
“Now, we’re pretty much in line with the national average so we’re not getting out of whack.”
Some officials have raised concerns because it’s been 100 months since the start of the last recession and, on average, a new recession starts after just 60 months. But the council was told that isn’t an imminent concern.
“So the short answer to your question is we are not forecasting a recession,” Anderson told the council members.