LAS VEGAS (AP) - Nevada's unemployment rate climbed to 13.4
percent in August - the third straight month the numbers rose,
state officials said Friday.
Last month's figure is a jump from July's 12.9 percent jobless rate but is still lower than last August's 14.9 percent, a time when more than 200,000 people were unemployed in the Silver State.
In August, 176,200 were unemployed statewide, said the Nevada
Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
The department's chief economist, Bill Anderson, said Nevada's labor market isn't improving as well as people hoped.
"The good news is that dramatic job losses have subsided. Unfortunately, it is not enough to consistently bring the unemployment rate down," Anderson said. "The poor condition of the construction industry continues to contribute heavily to Nevada's economic stalemate."
The construction industry employed 54,600 people statewide in August, a number that did not change compared with one month earlier but was down 2.1 percent from August last year.
Analyst Bill Lerner of Union Gaming Group said the drop in unemployment year over year is because of people leaving the state
and the workforce, not because the economy - driven by tourism in
Las Vegas - is better than it was a year ago.
"Despite a 4.9 percent increase in year-to-date and a 7.5 percent growth in gaming revenues, the unemployment metrics in the Las Vegas metropolitan area continue to be lackluster," Lerner said.
Statewide jobless figures were paced by 14.2 percent unemployment in the Sin City area, the most populous region in the state. Las Vegas has been battered since 2008 by declining tourism, which led to stalled construction projects as speedy growth came to a screeching halt.
Unemployment in August was 13 percent in Reno-Sparks, and 12.7
percent in Carson City.
Nevada is well behind the national unemployment rate of 9.1 percent for August.
Gov. Brian Sandoval said the numbers are a clear sign the state has to do more to get Nevadans back to work. He said his cabinet is preparing new programs to retrain the workforce.
"We have no higher priority than addressing this challenge," he said.
Other politicians from Nevada also weighed in, with Democrats using the numbers to tout President Barack Obama's latest jobs plan and Republicans saying it's indicative of his policy failures.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada called the figures "deeply frustrating," and a reminder that job creation and the economy have to come ahead of partisan politics.
GOP Congressman Joe Heck said federal lawmakers should pass an amendment to require a balanced budget, and prevent the government from stifling workers and entrepreneurs, saying they need certainty about the future.
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