Nevada unemployment hits three-year low; Las Vegas numbers up – Business –

Nevada bucked national trends in May, with the state’s unemployment dropping to a three-year low even as the nation’s joblessness ticked up.

The Silver State’s unemployment rate fell to a three-year low of 11.6 percent in May, down from 11.7 percent in April. It was the second straight month of state unemployment less than 12 percent, and the ninth straight month of declines.

In Las Vegas, joblessness rose to 11.8 percent. That was up from 11.6 percent a month earlier, for the first gain after eight consecutive months of decreases.

The state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation seasonally adjusts unemployment figures statewide, but does not have the data to tweak local numbers to account for changes in hiring trends based on the time of year. That’s why jobless trends can look different from city to state.

National unemployment rose to 8.2 percent in May, up from 8.1 percent in April. Nevada has led the nation in joblessness since May 2010.

Bill Anderson, chief economist of the employment department, credited state jobless declines to both a shrinking workforce and job creation.

Nevada’s labor pool dropped to 1.36 million in May, down 1.6 percent from 1.38 million in May 2011. In Las Vegas, the workforce shrank to 984,100, down 0.8 percent from 992,500 a year earlier.

People who aren’t actively looking for work aren’t counted as jobless, and that’s why unemployment can fall when the labor pool shrinks.

But nearly every sector in the state added jobs in May as well.

Through the first five months of 2012, nonfarm employment in Nevada was up 9,000 jobs when compared with the same period a year earlier. Leisure and hospitality added 10,000 jobs, while the combined category of trade, transportation and utilities, which includes retail, formed 2,300 positions. Professional and business services such as accounting firms and employment agencies created 1,800 jobs. Mining was up 2,300 jobs compared with a year ago.

Construction continued to slump, falling by 2,600 jobs statewide, with 2,200 of those cuts in Las Vegas. Other sectors losing jobs year over year included financial activities and government.

In all, 158,300 Nevadans were out of work and looking for jobs in May, down from 158,300 a year ago. About 116,000 Las Vegans lacked jobs but were looking, down from 135,000 in May 2011.

Bill Anderson, chief economist of the employment department, said the numbers pointed to improvements in the state’s labor market.

“Nevada is experiencing some welcome improvement in the jobless outlook. While employment is growing modestly, a declining labor force has also contributed to the easing unemployment rate,” Anderson said. “Some Nevadans have likely dropped out of the labor force due to a perceived lack of job opportunities. Nevertheless, trends do indicate that Nevada’s labor market is slowly rebounding.”

Added Gov. Brian Sandoval in a statement: “I am encouraged by this month’s jobs report. With another month of positive news, we are beginning to see several sectors of our economy grow. While these are strong signs, we must continue to help our economy strengthen by cultivating new businesses and expanding those already here.”

via Nevada unemployment hits three-year low; Las Vegas numbers up – Business –


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