Nevada jobless rate no longer nation’s worst |

Nevada jobless rate no longer nation’s worst

Geoff Dornan

Nevada’s unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent in January, the 18th straight month of declines.

With December’s 9.8 percent and January at 9.7 percent, the Silver State no longer has the nation’s highest unemployment percentage — a dubious distinction Nevada has had since February 2010. That honor now falls to Rhode Island.

“Some of the industries which were hardest hit by the recession, like construction and manufacturing, appear to have stabilized and are on the path to improvement,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said.

The jobless rate translates to 132,600 people looking for work in Nevada.

But, while all markets in the state are down compared to the same month a year ago, Carson City’s rate increased from 10.1 percent in December to 11.2 percent in January. Half that change was reported as decreases in state and local government employment, which makes up a large portion of Carson’s total workforce. The other half was in the private sector, which typically sees a slump after retailers let go their temporary holiday season staff.

In Carson City, the number of employed workers fell from 27,900 in December to 27,000 in January.

Reno-Sparks, like Carson City, saw its overall rate increase in January from 9.6 percent to 10.6 percent.

The expected seasonal loss was offset by gains in other industries primarily in Southern Nevada. The increase in Las Vegas was just two-tenths of a percent to 10.2 percent in January.

Churchill County came in at 9.1 percent in January, reporting 1,150 out of work — about 100 more than in December.

Douglas County, which dipped below 11 percent for the first time in well over a year in December, went back up to 11.8 percent unemployment in January.

Lyon County also suffered a setback. After dropping to 13.7 percent in December, its rate rose to 15.3 percent in January.

Statewide, the rate is still nearly 2 percent higher than the national average of 7.9 percent.

“The state’s economy continued to produce new jobs at a decent pace,” adding a seasonally adjusted 6,600 jobs over the month,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.”

He said the year-over-year job growth of 2.5 percent is a full percentage point above national growth for the same period.

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