CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada's unemployment rate fell to 12.7
percent in January, down from a revised 13 percent in the previous
month and 13.8 percent in January 2011, the Nevada Department of
Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported Monday.
But the report also showed southern Nevada's tourism and
gambling mecca of Las Vegas fared better than the rest of the
state, posting job improvement as the rest of Nevada stumbled.
While the Las Vegas area saw its jobless rate improve to 13.1
percent, down from 13.3 percent a month earlier, northern Nevada
jobs markets continued to shed jobs.
In the Reno-Sparks area, the unemployment rate rose to 13
percent in January, up 0.6 percent from December.
Nevada's employment department said 174,700 people in the state
were jobless, which is down 16,300 from last January but relatively
flat compared with December.
Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval said the report shows "slow but
steady" growth and signs of economic recovery in a state that has
led the nation in joblessness since May 2010. His administration in
February set a target of creating 50,000 jobs by the end of 2014.
Bill Anderson, chief economist for the state agency, said
employers added 1,800 jobs in January.
"It marks the 12th time in the past 13 months that employment
has grown on a year-over-year basis," Anderson said. "Nevada's
labor markets continued on a path of moderate improvement in
January, but Nevada's unemployment rate is 4.4 percentage points
higher than the nation's 8.3 percent."
But Elliott Parker, chairman of the Department of Economics at
the University of Nevada, Reno, questioned the state's assessment
that the report shows economic improvement.
"The labor force survey says the labor force declined by 7,000
jobs since December, or 13,000, if we don't adjust for seasonality
and the normal holiday bump," Parker said. "Employment fell by
12,000 workers, 2,000 more than normal. So the unemployment rate
continued to decline only because we lost more people from the
workforce than jobs. That is completely different than what is
happening at the national level."
The state report said Las Vegas gained 1,600 jobs in January
from December and is up 4,600 over the year, during which time
leisure and hospitality sectors added more than 10,000 jobs.
But northern Nevada shed jobs, losing about 1,300 in seasonal
holiday retail positions and 500 in the hotel and casino sector
from December to January.
Carson City had the highest jobless rate at 13.5 percent.
Nevada's capital city job market is down 800 jobs over the year and
the employment level remains at levels not seen since 1997, the
Statewide, the government sector alone shed 7,400 jobs during
2011, as governments cut workforces because of shrinking budgets.
In the Elko region, the jobless rate rose to 7.3 percent in
January, up from 6.4 percent the previous month.