State unemployment rate up again | NevadaAppeal.com

State unemployment rate up again

Nevada’s unemployment rate continued to rise in November despite seasonal hiring in the retail sector.

Bill Anderson, economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said the primary culprit was the construction industry, which was down another 2,500 jobs from October. He said because of the collapse of the housing market, construction has lost some 7,300 jobs in the past 12 months.

As a result, the unadjusted statewide jobless rate increased two-tenths from October to 5.2 percent with an estimated 71,200 out of work. That is a full percent higher than a year ago and almost three quarters of a percent higher than the national average.

Despite the increase in the number of people without work, Anderson said overall, the state added 3,800 jobs in November as retail stores began to staff up for the holidays.

“Nevada is still experiencing modest job growth, but nothing like we are used to,” he said in announcing the November figures.

The numbers should be helped considerably in December when the Palazzo hotel/casino opens in Las Vegas. That property will probably erase the near 5,000 casino jobs lost last summer when the Stardust closed.

And several other gaming properties are scheduled to open for business in 2008 and 2009.

In Carson City, the rate was 5.6 percent – a four-tenths increase from the previous month when 1,600 of the capital’s 28,500 labor force was without work. Carson City’s rate was 5.2 percent in October; 4.7 percent a year ago.

The Reno-Sparks area reported a 4.8 percent unemployment rate. That is just three tenths higher than October but a full percent up from November 2006.

The Las Vegas area reported 5.3 percent out of work, up two tenths from October and 1.2 percent from a year ago.

The brightest spot in the November report is the Elko-Eureka reporting area, home to most of the state’s largest gold mines. There just 3.5 percent were unemployed, a tenth up from October and two-tenths up from a year ago.

Anderson said the mining boom was driving the economy in that area.

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