Nevada Jobless Rate Unchanged At 4.4 Percent

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Nevada's jobless rate remained unchanged in March at 4.4 percent, but the state continued to lead the nation in job growth over the past year.

Employers have created 44,700 new jobs in the past 12 months, an increase of 4.2 percent, the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported Monday.

Nevada's unemployment rate was 1.3 percentage points lower than the national rate and 2.1 percentage points lower than neighboring California.

"Nevada's economy continued its recent trends of solid job growth and moderate unemployment," Gov. Kenny Guinn said in a statement.

Construction remains strong in many parts of the state, and a favorable economy and the governor said improving national employment should boost tourism, which has not kept up with growth in other industries.

The state unemployment rate of 4.4 percent is adjusted for seasonal changes in employment.

The department's labor market analysts estimate that during March, the Las Vegas metropolitan statistical area, including Nye County and Mohave County in Arizona, had a nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.4 percent, down 0.2 percent from the previous month and down 0.9 percent from the previous year.

Washoe County's nonseasonally adjusted March jobless rate was estimated at 4.1 percent, down 0.4 percent from the previous month and 0.6 percent lower than a year ago.

In the Carson City market area, including Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties, unemployment was reported at 5.6 percent, down 0.7 percent from the previous month, and 0.8 percent lower than March a year ago.

The Elko labor market area, which includes Eureka County, reported unemployment at 4.5 percent, down 0.9 percent from the previous month and 2 percent lower than a year ago.

In first-quarter rural-county data, Storey County posted a 0.9 percent increase, to 4.6 percent.

Eureka County posted the lowest rural quarterly unemployment rate at 3.5 percent, down 4.4 percentage points over a year ago.

Lyon County reported the highest unemployment rate at 7.7 percent, 0.1 percent lower than the first quarter of 2003.

Birgit Baker, director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said employment in the state's mining regions was improving.

She pointed to the recent sale of the Robinson mine, which closed five years ago near Ely, and said it should add about 300 jobs when it reopens later this year.

Preliminary wage and salary employment estimates for March reflect job gains in the past year in all but one Nevada employment sector, Baker said.

The information sector, which includes telecommunications, reported a loss of 300 jobs over the year.

Categories showing significant job growth in the past year include professional and business services, with an increase of 8,200 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities, up 6,800 jobs; and construction, with 10,900 new jobs.