Unemployment rate hits 5 percent | NevadaAppeal.com

Unemployment rate hits 5 percent

Nevada’s unemployment rate hit 5 percent in August – the first time it has been that high since November 2003.

The statewide rate has been rising steadily since May 2006 when it was just 4.1 percent. The August rate is above the national average, which was posted at 4.6 percent for the month.

Officials at the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation blamed the collapse of the housing market, which has caused the loss of 4,700 jobs in the construction industry over the past year. Also impacted by the housing market, the financial sector has lost 600 jobs in the past year.

DETR Chief Economist William Anderson said, however, housing isn’t the only problem. He said bad timing in the closure of the Stardust and New Frontier hotel/casinos on the Las Vegas Strip also contributed, cutting 3,500 jobs in the gaming sector. Those old casinos were shuttered so new mega-resorts can be built.

Despite those declines, the number of people with jobs in Nevada has grown 18,100 since August 2006. The total workforce in the state is now 1,347,800 with just 65,700 out of work.

DETR Director Larry Mosley said that means Nevada’s economy is still strong and growing despite the increased unemployment rate.

Carson City reported a 5.1 percent unemployment rate with 1,400 of 28,400 looking for a job. That is actually down a tenth from July but up from the 4.6 percent reported in August 2006.

Of the Nevada reporting areas, Elko’s numbers were best. With the mining boom in eastern Nevada, unemployment there was just 3.5 percent – 1,000 out of 27,400 in the workforce.

The Reno-Sparks metropolitan area was at 4.4 percent and Las Vegas was at 5 percent.

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