Nevada Unemployment Hits 5.4 Percent in November

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Nevada's unemployment rate rose for the eighth month in a row, hitting 5.4 percent in November as a housing slump continued, according to a state report released Friday.

The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation report shows the seasonally adjusted rate, up slightly from 5.2 percent in
October, is the highest in 4½ years and exceeded a national rate of
4.7 percent in November.

Bill Anderson, the agency's chief economist, said the construction industry continued to lose jobs in November, down about 2,500 from October and down about 7,300 jobs compared with the same month a year earlier.

Total employment in all industries was about 1.3 million in November. About 71,200 Nevadans were unemployed during the month. Anderson said total employment was up 3,800 from October, due mainly by hiring in the retail trade sector.

While stores added employees, Anderson noted sales tax collections have been down and questioned whether consumers will head to the stores during the holiday shopping season "with their usual gusto."

Nevada's economic slowdown is expected to last at least through the first half of 2008, Anderson said, adding the housing market is the key and "there is no indication we can expect it to turn around soon."

For the Las Vegas area, non-seasonally adjusted unemployment
increased from 5.1 percent to 5.3 percent between October and
November. There were about 925,500 people working in the area and
the jobless total was 51,400.

The Reno area saw non-seasonally adjusted unemployment increase
from 4.5 percent to 4.8 percent in the same period. Employment totaled 219,300, and about 11,100 people were out of work.

Carson City-area unemployment increased from 5.2 percent to 5.6
percent between October and November. Employment in the area
totaled about 26,900 and unemployment totaled about 1,600.

Unemployment in Elko and Eureka counties increased from 3.4 percent to 3.5 percent from month to month. There were 26,200 people working in the area during November and about 900 without jobs.

A month-to-month breakdown of hiring statewide by specific industries showed an increase of 3,800 retail employees; 700 more workers in government; 500 more employees in hotel-casinos, 500 more workers in education-health services; and 800 more employees in professional business services.

Transportation-warehousing-utilities was up 200; information service hiring was down 100; mining and manufacturing held steady; and financial activities hiring was down 200.
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AP-NY-12-21-07 1253EST