Jobless rate rises four-tenths percent in December |

Jobless rate rises four-tenths percent in December

by Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

The percentage of Nevadans without jobs rose four-tenths of a percent to 5 percent in December.

But the state’s rate is still a full percent below the national rate and 1.6 percent lower than in California.

There were just over 50,000 out of work in the 1,046,300 member work force.

In the Carson City market area — which includes Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties — the rate was 5.2 percent. While that, too, is up from November, it’s 1.5 percent lower than the same month a year ago. Carson City reported just 3,010 jobless.

The lowest state jobless reporting area is the Reno area, which had just 3.8 percent of eligible workers without jobs. That translates to just 7,000 unemployed out of 187,700 in Washoe County.

The Las Vegas reporting area, which includes Nye County and Mohave County in Arizona, reported 5 percent unemployment with 41,200 out of work in a labor pool of 826,200.

Gov. Kenny Guinn expressed concern that if unemployment rises again, it will “create additional demands for services on the state’s already strained budget.” He said it points to how fragile the state’s economy remains.

Employment, Training and Rehabilitation Director Myla Florence said the situation was aggravated by the recent announcement that several Kmart stores in the state will close.

But she expressed confidence that the growing retail sector in both the north and south will help absorb those displaced workers.

Even with the state’s economic problems, Florence said Nevada added nearly 26,000 jobs from December 2001 to December 2002. The biggest gains were in service industries — 9,800 jobs — followed by 6,000 trade jobs and 5,100 in federal, state and local government.

Mining, however, lost 700 jobs over the year.