March jobless numbers in Nevada began rising even before pandemic shutdown |

March jobless numbers in Nevada began rising even before pandemic shutdown

By Geoff Dornan

The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation Tuesday released unemployment numbers showing that the unemployment rate began rising even before Nevada shut down.

Those numbers are measured each month in the week that contains the 12th of the month. In March, that was the week before Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered closure of all “non-essential” businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, the March numbers don’t reflect the massive layoffs and furloughs that happened as a result of Sisolak’s order.

Even so, the percentage of those without jobs did increase from 3.8 percent in February to 6.4 percent in March. The rate rose to 6.7 percent in Las Vegas and Carson City and 5.3 percent in the Reno metropolitan reporting area.

Las Vegas was at 3.9 percent in February, Carson City at 4.1 percent and Reno at 3.2 percent.

 “Today’s report shows the earliest effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nevada’s local areas,” said DETR Chief Economist David Schmidt.

He said the early impact of the virus was much more pronounced in Nevada’s urban areas than in the rurals. North Las Vegas, for example, saw its rate rise 3.2 percent to 7.5 while Elko County saw an increase of just 1.6 percent to 4.9 percent.

Carson City saw its number of jobless increase from 1,106 to 1.765.

Douglas County rose from 3.3 to 4.9 percent with 1,328 looking for work and Churchill County’s rate rose from 3.6 to 5.7 percent with 657 jobless. Lyon County, which has been among the slowest to recover in Nevada since the recession, saw its jobless rate increase from 5 percent to 7.7 percent in early March, finishing with 1,837 out of work.

The reporting area with the lowest unemployment rate is Eureka County where 3.8 percent are out of work. The highest rate was in Nye County at 7.8 percent.

For the week ending April 11, 58,641 Nevadans filed for jobless benefits. In the weeks prior up to 91,000 Nevadans filed for unemployment.  

The full impact of the economic shutdown will be apparent when the April numbers are released.