CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada's unemployment rate rose in June
for the first time this year to 12.4 percent, signaling the economic recovery that has been slow to materialize continues to plague the Silver State, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported Friday.
Nearly 163,000 Nevadans were out of work last month, up from 159,000 in May when the jobless rate was 12.1 percent.
Bill Anderson, chief economist for the department, said non-farm
payrolls shed 2,900 jobs between May and June, signaling that weak
national market conditions are trickling down to Nevada.
He called the results "well below expectations."
"All things considered, Nevada's job market is essentially flat," Anderson said.
He noted that unemployment usually rises in June, "but this month's increase is twice as large as the average of the last 10 years."
The Las Vegas metropolitan area continues to post the highest jobless numbers in Nevada. The unemployment rate rose to 13.8
percent in June, up from 12.4 percent the previous month. Total
employment in Las Vegas, the state's economic engine, fell by 4,000.
Elsewhere, the jobless rate jumped to 13 percent from 11.8 percent in May in the Reno-Sparks area, and to 12.5 percent, up 1 percentage point, in Carson City.
Nevada continues to lead the nation in unemployment, and lags significantly behind the national rate of 9.2 percent.
Elliott Parker, an economist at the University of Nevada, Reno, said "falling local government employment more than accounts for
the entire statewide drop in jobs."
Year-over-year, state and local governments have lost 3,600 jobs, representing a 2.7 percent cut to payroll, the report said.
"Continued contraction of public sector jobs reflects state and local austerity measures forced by shrinking tax revenue," Friday's report said.
Anderson said there were some bright spots, however, and "not everything in the report is doom and gloom."
Las Vegas' leisure and hospitality industry added 2,200 new jobs last month and while some are seasonal, others can be attributed "to the uptick in tourism Las Vegas has experienced so far in 2011."
Gov. Brian Sandoval said he was disappointed in the jobless increase but remained "confident in Nevada's resiliency."
"We are in a stronger position this month than we were at this time last year," he said. In June 2010, Nevada's seasonally adjusted statewide rate hit a record 14.9 percent.
Members of Nevada's congressional delegation used the report to point political fingers and assign blame for the economy as the debt showdown debate raged on in the nation's capital.
"Unfortunately, Republicans in Washington have their priorities upside down, supporting the so-called `Cut, Cap and Balance Act' that not only kills Medicare and undermines Social Security, but will destroy nearly one million jobs nationwide," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement.
"We need to work together to create good paying jobs in the state - not pursue an ideological agenda that will send more Nevadans to the unemployment lines."
Nevada's Republican Sen. Dean Heller said President Barack Obama
"can't talk his way out of the troubling fact that Nevada's unemployment rate is growing."
"The policies of this administration are making our economy worse, and Nevadans are feeling the pain," Heller said. "Throwing money at the problems through big-government interventions and programs clearly does not work."
Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., took aim at Heller. Berkley is running next year for the Senate seat Heller was appointed to when John Ensign resigned. Heller voted for the House Republican plan calling for deep spending cuts that was rejected Friday by the Senate.
"Dean Heller should be ashamed of himself," Berkley said. "Today's unemployment numbers show that we all need to be focusing like a laser on putting Nevadans back to work, not breaking our promise to seniors and killing jobs in order to pay for more taxpayer giveaways to Big Oil companies making record profits."