Nevada Jobless Rate Steady at 11.6 Percent in June

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada's unemployment rate held steady at 11.6 percent in June as some private sector industries showed continued signs of job gains, state officials said Friday.

The June unemployment in Las Vegas, the economic engine that fuels the state, was 12.1 percent last month, up from 11.8 percent in May, according to the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

Reno's rate was 11.7 percent, up from 11.5 percent a month earlier, and Carson City's rate was 11.8 percent, up from 11.7 percent.

While the metropolitan areas showed a slight uptick in jobless numbers, economists said those figures cannot be directly compared to the statewide percentage. That's because the statewide rate is adjusted for predicable fluctuations in seasonal jobs, and the metro rates are not.

The national jobless rate was 8.2 percent in June.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, who has made jobs and economic development a top priority, called the jobs report encouraging.

"This month's employment numbers indicate the economy is continuing to grow at a slow but modest pace," the first term Republican said. "I am encouraged by the fact that this is the 12th straight month of positive news, but we must continue working to support job growth by bringing new business to Nevada and allowing existing businesses to be successful."

Nevada's unemployment rate remains the highest in the nation, a distinction it has held since May 2010. Using seasonally adjusted figures, more than 158,000 Nevadans were out of work in June, about 32,000 fewer that the same month a year ago.

During the past year, the state's labor force has contracted by nearly 20 percent as people either moved to find work elsewhere or stopped looking.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for the state agency, said for the first six months of the calendar year the number of unemployed people in Nevada has averaged roughly 164,000.

He said some industries in the private sector are showing positive gains, such as Nevada's dominant leisure and hospitality sector that has benefited from continued growth in southern Nevada.

"Since reaching a recessionary law of a seasonally adjusted 304,500 in November 2009, nearly 20,000 jobs have been added in this industry," Anderson said.

Other industries posting jobs gains include professional and business services, which have added 5,000 jobs since June 2011, and health care and social assistance, with 3,100 more jobs, Anderson said.

Another bright spot was natural resources and mining, which added 400 jobs since May and 2,100 over the past year.

Weakness remains in Nevada's hard-hit construction industry that was hammered by recession and housing market meltdown.

"Construction, at least as it pertains to job levels, is still searching for a bottom," the state report said. In the first half of 2012, there were 3,300 fewer construction jobs compared with the same period in 2011.

Public sector jobs are also lagging as governments continue to react to diminishing revenue. Over the past year, the number of people employed by federal, state and local governments dropped by about 2,700 in the state, the report said.

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