June jobless rate marks first increase this year
Nevada’s unemployment inched up by three-tenths of a percentage point in June – the first increase in a calendar year that had been showing slow but steady improvement.
The rise to 12.4 percent was blamed on weakness at the national level, which economist Bill Anderson said “may be trickling into the Silver State.”
Unemployment normally rises in June, according to Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. But he said this increase was double the average rise, likely caused by weak summer hiring of seasonal employees.
The most significant increase was in Las Vegas, where unemployment rose from 12.4 percent in May to 13.8 percent in June. That translates to a loss of 4,000 jobs, leaving Southern Nevada with 130,300 of the 942,500 workers there jobless.
The rate in Reno increased 1.2 percentage points to 13 percent, a drop of 400 jobs, and, in Carson City, by 1 percentage point to 12.5 percent – a loss of 100 jobs.
Reno has 27,800 unemployed out of 214,500 workers.
Overall, Carson City reported 3,490 jobless in a labor force of 27,840. But the capital is still 1.1 percentage points below the 13.6 percent rate it reported in January.
Nevada’s rate is highest in the nation and compares to a 9.2 percent national rate in June.
Anderson said, however, that not everything in the month’s report is “doom and gloom.” He said the Las Vegas leisure and hospitality industry continues to recover, adding 2,200 jobs in June. While some of that is seasonal, part of the growth, he said, can be attributed to rebounding tourism.
Anderson said another good sign came in a pair of recent reports showing that, despite the economic problems in the Silver State, exports to foreign markets continue to grow, providing more jobs in those businesses. Through April, he said, total exports were up 17 percent over the same period of 2010.
The top export based on value is precious metals. Gold is now selling for more than $1,500 an ounce.
One area where the number of jobs continues to contract – both in Nevada and nationwide – is the public sector. Year-over-year, Nevada has lost 3,600 state and local government jobs, nearly all in local government payrolls. In contrast, private industry added 2,500 jobs year-over-year.
In Carson City, the public sector reported an overall loss of about 100 jobs in state and local government. In the capital, more than 12,000 of the 29,000 jobs are provided by public entities — some 8,200 of them by state government.
Rockefeller Institute analysts say public sector employment is down in 39 states, and overall state and local government employment is 2 percent below where it was when the recession began in 2007.
Churchill County unemployment rose 1.2 percentage points fromMay to June, to 11 percent. Some 1,420 of the 12,950 workers there were looking for work.
Douglas also saw a 1.2 percent increase, finishing the month at 14.5 percent, with 3,090 out of work in a pool of 21,320.
Lyon County continues to have the highest unemployment rate in Nevada — and June’s slump, which raised that rate from 15.8 percent to 17.3 percent, didn’t help. There are 3,840 looking for work in a labor force of 22,230 there.
Gov. Brian Sandoval said that the increase was disappointing but that he remains confident the economy will recover.
“We are in a stronger position this month than we were at this time last year,” he said.