Nevada’s jobless rate hits record high; Carson remains at 13.4 percent
Fueled by layoffs by local governments, Nevada’s unemployment rate hit a record 13.7 percent in April – up three-tenths from March.
“Despite numerous wage concessions and other cutbacks, many local governments are being forced to lay off employees,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
He said in April alone, local government employment declined by 1,000.
“Job losses will likely increase in the coming months as municipalities adjust to lower budgets set to begin July 1,” he said.
As of April, local governments in Nevada employed a total of 100,900.
The 13.7 percent figure is the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the state. The raw rate is actually 14 percent, with an estimated 193,000 out of work. A total of 140,900 of them are in the Las Vegas reporting area, where unemployment hit 14.2 percent for April.
The rate also ticked up in the Reno-Sparks reporting area, from 13.3 to 13.5 percent with 30,800 out of work.
In Carson City, the rate remained at 13.4 percent with 3,900 of the 29,000 in the labor force looking for work. One reason the capital escaped an increase is that government employment actually increased by 100 because of federal hiring by the Census bureau. That increase offsets a comparable decrease in retail employment in the capital.
Anderson said there are numerous factors at play in the numbers in addition to the local government reductions.
“Construction remains one of the most discouraging sectors in the labor market,” he said. “Construction employment has fallen to a level not seen since April 1995.”
From the height of the housing boom in 2006, construction employment has dropped from 148,800 to 62,700 statewide.
Statewide, employers added 2,500 jobs in April, most of them seasonal hires in retail and leisure categories such as outdoor recreation, sporting goods, garden and hardware stores.
The statewide labor force actually increased by more than 5,000 in April as more people entered the search for employment.
“If people are entering the labor force, they’re likely doing it for economic reasons,” Anderson said.
He said examples might be a stay-at-home spouse seeking work because his or her partner has lost work or suffered a pay cut, or a senior going back to work because of financial troubles.
The Elko area continues to have the lowest unemployment rate at 8.5 percent – unchanged from March – because of the mining industry.
Lyon County, which has had the state’s worst unemployment rate for a year, ticked up a tenth to 19.2 percent. That translates to 4,490 unemployed in a workforce of 23,380.
Storey County’s rate fell a half-percent to 14.4 percent.