The unemployment rate in Douglas County dropped to 11.4 percent, its lowest level since May 2009, according to figures released Friday by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
Most of that change from previous months came from a shrinking of the workforce.
Total employment in the county was 19,180 workers in September, down from 19,450 in August. The number of jobless workers also decreased from 2,660 to 2,460.
In May 2009, the county's unemployment rate was 11.1 percent. It shot up to 11.9 percent the next month and steadily increased until reaching a peak of 15.7 percent in December 2010.
September's rate knocked Douglas' unemployment down to the sixth highest in the state, behind longtime leaders Lyon, Nye, Mineral, Lincoln and Clark counties. Lyon County was down to 14.2 percent. The lowest unemployment rate in the state was 4.9 percent in Esmeralda County.
Statewide, the rate fell to 11.8 percent in September, a decline from 12.1 percent in August and a significant improvement from September 2011's reading of 13.6 percent. September's household survey showed more Nevadans are working, partly contributing to the decline in the rate of unemployment, said Bill Anderson, chief economist for Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
The rate equates to a seasonally adjusted 161,600 individuals still unemployed. The number of Nevadans out of work fell by 4,300 in September, which is partly due to some falling out of the workforce, as well as people obtaining employment.
"I am encouraged by this month's job growth and the slight decrease in the unemployment rate," Gov. Brian Sandoval said. "I am also pleased that export activity is up one-third over last year and that Nevada is taking an increased role in the world's economy. This news further validates our efforts to reach out to foreign countries, which we will continue to do."
Amongst the state's three largest population centers, the Las Vegas metro area is home to the highest unemployment rate in the state, at 11.5 percent, not seasonally adjusted. This is down from 12.3 percent in August and, more importantly, 14 percent a year ago. In Reno/Sparks the rate fell 0.7 point, to 10.8 percent. A year ago, the region's jobless rate stood at 12.9 percent. Carson City is home to a 10.9 percent rate, down from 11.5 percent in August and 12.8 percent last year.
"The news is encouraging, as a year ago, there were an estimated 188,300 Nevadans counted as unemployed," Anderson said. "Monthly measures are subject to wide swings, and it is perhaps best not too put too much weight behind that volatility; however, when evaluated as a whole, the economy is slowly moving in a positive direction."
Typically during the month, about 7,500 jobs (not seasonally adjusted) are added in the state, the majority of them in the public sector coinciding with the start of a new academic year. This year, however, 14,600 jobs were added, resulting in a seasonally adjusted gain of 7,100. Through the first three quarters of the year, private sector jobs are up by more than 12,000 compared to the same period last year.