Nevada's unemployment rate rose slightly in October to 4.2 percent, up from 4 percent in September, due in part to a slowing housing market and the end of the summer tourism season, state officials said Monday.
"We've been hearing for a while that Nevada's housing market was losing momentum," Terry Johnson, director of the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said in a statement. "It's not surprising that the unemployment rate has been adversely affected.
"This slight increase, however, is not reason for alarm," Johnson said. "Nevada's unemployment rate remains below the national average, and employers are still adding jobs at a remarkable rate."
The seasonally adjusted rate nationally was 4.4 percent and it was 4.8 percent in neighboring California.
Johnson added it's too early to tell if ballot measures passed by voters to raise Nevada's minimum wage and ban smoking in places that sell food will affect jobless rates.
Nevada's booming construction industry lost 700 jobs statewide in October, after adding an average 2,000 in each of the past eight months during an upward trend that began in 2004, the state report
said. The total 154,600 people employed in the construction trades in October was nearly 10,000 more than in the same month last year, the report said.
The leisure and hospitality industries that include casinos, hotels, bars and restaurants reported 2,200 fewer jobs from last month, but 6,500 more than in October 2005.
The report said casino hotels and Nevada's gambling sector have grown modestly since Wynn Las Vegas opened on the Las Vegas Strip
in April 2005. Other Las Vegas megaresort projects, such as the Palazzo, the Encore, Project CityCenter and Echelon Place will "give a boost" to Nevada's largest industry as they open, officials said.
With such projects and other commercial ventures on the horizon,
Nevada's housing market should remain strong, Gov. Kenny Guinn said.
"Even with residential construction slowing down, Nevada's job force continues to grow at a fast pace, thus creating the need for new housing," Guinn said.
In the Las Vegas area, the October jobless rate remained steady at 4 percent compared with the previous month. In the immediate Reno area, which includes Sparks, Washoe County and nearby Storey county the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 3.6 percent from 3.7 percent in September, but was higher than the 3.3 percent a year ago.
Unemployment rates also held steady from the previous month in Carson City at 4.4 percent and Elko at 3.5 percent, the report said.