Jobless rate hits 8 percent |

Jobless rate hits 8 percent

Nevada’s unemployment rate hit 8 percent in November ” the first time it has reached that threshold since February 1984.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said that translates into 111,700 Nevadans looking for work.

The rate was even higher in Carson City ” 8.1 percent or 2,400 people.

Anderson said the biggest decrease in jobs during the past year is in the construction industry, which employs 15,900 fewer people in Nevada than it did in November 2007.

Mark Johnston, a staffing specialist with Manpower in Carson City, said more people are coming to the staffing agency looking for work ” “a lot of people coming in, and not a lot of places to send them.”

“The last company we were able to staff, just yesterday went on a three-month hiring freeze,” Johnston said. “We had several people waiting for jobs over there, and we had to call them up to give them the bad news.”

Joe McCarthy, Carson City Business Development manager, said a lot of the job losses in Carson City would have to be in the financial services industry. Pointing to a recent decision by Chromalloy to reduce its work force, he said manufacturing has been laying off workers as well.

Johnston said the layoffs are hitting high earners as well as laborers: “Had a guy in here two weeks ago, his last job was almost $70,000 a year, applying for a $12 an hour job. From 70 grand to 12 bucks.”

McCarthy said numerous real estate salespeople in the area are out of the business because of the collapse of the housing market. And restaurant employment is down sharply, McCarthy said, citing one restaurant owner who has laid off his cooks and put himself back in the kitchen.

In Carson, Anderson said retail employment is down 11 percent and professional and business services 8 percent.

Statewide, the Christmas season only saw 2,700 jobs added from October to November ” 1,000 fewer than the average over the previous five years.

Both said government employment has helped stabilize Carson City’s employment.

Neither the state nor Carson City has yet had to lay workers off despite the recession.

Of the 27,500 people employed in Carson City, government, including schools, employs 11,700 of them.

During the past year, the state’s unemployment rate has risen from 5.1 percent to 7.9 percent. Seasonally adjusted, that becomes 8 percent.

In the Las Vegas market area, the rate is 7.9 percent and, in the Reno area market, 7.8 percent. A year ago, those rates were 5.2 percent and 4.7 percent respectively.

In the Elko market area, where mining is still booming, the rate is just 4.4 percent. But even there, the rate is up. It was 3.2 percent a year ago.

As a result of the recession, DETR is now mailing out about 44,500 unemployment checks each week.

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.