Nevada unemployment rate increases in September | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada unemployment rate increases in September

Even though the total number of people working in Nevada increased more than 13,000 from August to September, the state’s unemployment rate continued its yearlong rise.

The number of Nevadans without jobs is now 69,400 – 5.1 percent of the nearly 1.4 million workforce.

That is a full percent higher than September 2006, two-tenths higher than it was in August and the highest unemployment rate in Nevada since October 2003.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said the primary cause is the slump that has hit the housing market, which is hitting states nationwide as well as Nevada.

Construction employment is down some 3,700 jobs over the past year.

Gaming has also lost jobs in the past few months. Casino hotels and gaming properties reported a 4,000 decrease in total employment over the past year and 1,200 from August to September. A large percentage of that decrease can be attributed to the closure of the old Stardust hotel/casino in July. The Stardust is being torn down to make way for a new mega-resort.

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Anderson said compounding the problem was an increase of 17,000 in the statewide labor force during September – 4,000 more than the number of jobs added.

“The state’s slowing economy could not absorb all of the new workers.”

Driving the numbers is the Las Vegas reporting area with a 5.2 percent unemployment rate – up two-tenths from August and a full percent from a year ago.

In Carson City, the unemployment rate was 5.3 percent compared to 4.5 percent a year ago. With 1,500 out of work, total employment in the capital city was about 27,000.

The Reno-Sparks reporting area, as usual, fared better with a 4.6 percent unemployment rate, eight-tenths of a percent higher than a year ago and two-tenths up for the month.

The best numbers were reported from the Elko area, which is down to just 3.6 percent unemployment primarily due to the mining boom in eastern Nevada.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.