CARSON CITY, Nev. - Nevada's November unemployment dropped to its lowest rate in more than three years. Seasonally adjusted, the rate was just 10.8 percent. The raw rate was even lower - just 10.2 percent, 2.5 percent below what it was in November 2011.
That is the lowest the rate has been since March 2009. At the same time, the number of Nevadans employed in the private sector climbed back over the one million mark - also for the first time since March 2009.
In Carson City, the rate was 10.3 percent - down 2 percent from a year ago and four-tenths from October. Likewise, the rate fell dramatically in Reno and Las Vegas. In Reno, the rate is the first single digit reading since 2008 - 9.9 percent compared to 12.1 percent a year ago.
Las Vegas saw a 2.6 percent decrease from a year earlier and finished the month at 10.4 percent.
Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said typically, the number of jobs declines slightly from October to November but, this year, increased by some 8,000.
He cautioned against putting too much emphasis on one month's results.
"We are, however, quite comfortable in concluding that the state's labor markets continue to behave in a manner consistent with moderate improvement over time," Anderson said in his monthly analysis.
He also said the number of employers in the state continues to increase as it has for the past five quarters.
Anderson said the numbers indicate holiday-related hiring is off to a good start this year. Retail employment increased about 6,700 in November on top of a gain of 2,100 in October.
He pointed out that December typically accounts for 10 percent of total taxable sales each year. That share declined to 8 percent during the recession but Anderson said it has rebounded in the past two years.
The 10.2 percent unemployment rate translates to 138,500 jobless in a labor force of 1.35 million. In Carson City, the 10.3 percent equates to 2,800 seeking a job out of 27,200 workers.
The Reno-Sparks reporting area has 223,700 workers, 22,200 of them jobless and, in Las Vegas, 970,900 workers with 101,300 out of work.
Nevada's smaller counties also experienced gains in November, although not as dramatic as the urban area experienced.
Churchill County saw a three-tenths decrease to 8.7 percent. That equates to 1,120 out of work in a labor force of 12,960.
Douglas County also saw a decrease of three-tenths to 11.2 percent with 2,320 out of work in a labor force of 20,720. Lyon County still has the state's worst jobless rate at 13.6 percent. But that's four-tenths better than October. There are 2,970 looking for a job in Lyon's 21,790 workforce.