Nevada’s Unemployment Rate Declines to 9.6 Percent in February

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Nevada’s unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 9.6 percent in February, down from 11.8 percent last February. This equates to 131,900 people out of work, a decrease of 600 from the previous month and 31,200 from February 2012. This is the lowest it has been since December 2008.

Unemployment rates are lower in February than a year earlier in each of Nevada’s metropolitan areas as well. Both Reno/Sparks (10.1 percent) and Las Vegas (9.8 percent) saw year-over-year decreases greater than two percentage points. Carson City (10.7 percent) experienced a 1.9 point decrease.

For the first time in six months, in February the state lost jobs, with a seasonally adjusted decline of 5,500. That decrease is comprised of a decline of 4,700 private sector jobs and 800 government jobs, said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). Typically, February non-agricultural employment grows by about 6,100 relative to January. This year, however, just 600 jobs were added, resulting in the seasonally adjusted decline. Still, over-the-year, jobs are up by 23,800.

Job growth varied across the state’s metro areas in February. The Las Vegas-Paradise MSA experienced a job loss of 2,300 (seasonally adjusted), a 0.3 percent decrease, relative to January. Nevertheless, the Las Vegas MSA has added 16,200 jobs compared to February 2012, with the largest gains coming from leisure and hospitality, which increased by 4,700. Only the Reno-Sparks area saw an increase in employment on a month-over-month basis, with a marginal increase of 100 seasonally adjusted jobs. Reno-Sparks added 2,000 jobs on a year-over-year basis, with leisure and hospitality accounting for 1,200 of those jobs. Carson City’s employment levels did not change relative to January. Carson City was the only sub state area to lose employment year-over-year, recording a loss of 300.