Nevada's Jobless Rate Drops to 4.4 Percent

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The state's jobless rate dropped in February to 4.4 percent, marking the lowest level in three years, state officials said Monday.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February, down from 4.5 percent in January, compared with a 5.6 percent national rate and a 6.2 percent rate in neighboring California.

About 54,800 Nevadans were unemployed in February, down from around 59,700 a month earlier, according to statistics from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

"Nevada's unemployment rate reached its lowest level since January 2001 and has been declining steadily since last summer," Gov. Kenny Guinn said in a written statement.

"The anticipated recovery of the southern Nevada gaming industry provides encouragement that the unemployment rate will remain low and job growth will remain robust."

Statewide, all but the information services industry reported job growth over the last year, Employment, Training and Rehabilitation Director Myla Florence said. That sector reported a loss of 400 jobs since February 2003, including about 100 since January.

But construction industry employment statewide jumped 11.6 percent over the past year, gaining 10,700 jobs from February 2003, about 2,400 in the last month, the report said.

The casino-related leisure and hospitality industry had a January-to-February gain of about 1,000 employees; financial activities hiring was up 300; and education-health services was up about 900.

Mining and natural resources held steady in February at about 8,800 when compared with the previous month.

In Las Vegas, the unadjusted unemployment rate in February was 4.6 percent, down from 4.9 percent in January. Of the statewide total of jobless people, about 42,500 were in the Las Vegas area and other towns and cities in Clark County. Also included in the area are Nye County, Nev., and Mohave County, Ariz.

In the Reno area, the unadjusted rate was 4.5 percent, down from 5.1 percent in January. The jobless total there was 9,200.

In the Carson City and Douglas-Lyon-Storey counties area, the unadjusted rate was 6.2 percent in February, down from 7.1 percent a month earlier, with 3,940 jobless.

The Elko-Eureka counties area had a 5.4 percent rate in January, down from 5.9 percent a month earlier, with 1,190 jobless.