Nevada's unemployment rate jumped to 8 percent for the month of November. That's the highest it has been since February 1984. It’s also higher than the national average of 6.7 percent. According to the State Department of Employment 111,700 Nevadans are without work this holiday season, and those numbers are expected to grow in the New Year.
The Reno office of Nevada Job Connect reports seeing 300 to 350 people per day in recent weeks. They're a one-stop-shop for everything from computer access to training classes, but with 2,700 jobs eliminated in November perseverance may be the most important skill for job searchers.
"It’s bad out there. I’m on every web site there is and I’ve only had 3 interviews in a month," says job seeker Stephanie DeLeon. She has 10 years of experience in bookkeeping. In October, she was laid off. "I wasn't there long enough for severance. They created my position then eliminated it."
Now the single mother is struggling to stay afloat. She’s turned to the state for assistance, and she’s feeling grateful that her 8-month-old daughter is too young to understand times are hard. DeLeon says there will be no presents this Christmas, because her family has agreed not to celebrate with gifts.
As the economy continues to struggle, Deleon is one of a growing number of people turning to Nevada Job Connect for help. At 8 percent unemployment, the job numbers for November are discouraging, but branch manager Kathie Holbrook says they could get worse before they get better. "The December numbers will likely be higher. We're seeing construction workers still being laid off - and with the end of seasonal work, the numbers will go up in January," says Holbrook.
"You have to keep looking. And you have to keep coming,” says job seeker Ronald Coleman. He has been looking since May. The employees at Job Connect have become his friends and cheerleaders. In addition, available training has given him skills he didn't have before. "When I first got here I didn't know the right side of the mouse from the left,” he says. “If you're not computer literate you're out of luck."
Kathie Holbrook encourages everyone to take advantage of training and assistance available through Job Connect, and she says try not to be discouraged because there are employers out there hiring.