Unemployment rate dips third month in a row

Nevada's unemployment fell to 13.2 percent in March, the third straight month the rate has declined.

And unlike February when analysts attributed the decline to people leaving the state or giving up, March showed an actual increase in year-over-year employment - the first increase in the total number of people working in 38 months.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said the report was encouraging. He has promised not to raise taxes or fees as Nevada tries to climb out the recession.

"We need a new economic development structure to recruit growing businesses to our state, and we need a tax and regulatory climate the spurs local businesses to continue hiring Nevadans," he said in a statement.

Most of the added jobs - 10,000 altogether - were in the Las Vegas area with another 600 added in Reno/Sparks. In Carson City, the total working was up just 100 - essentially unchanged.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate has now dropped a full percent since January and 1.7 percent since the record high of 14.9 percent in December. The seasonally adjusted and raw rates are now both at 13.2 percent with 173,900 out of work in a labor force of less than 1.33 million.

In Carson City, the jobless rate went down 0.3 percent to 13.2 percent with some 3,700 looking for work in a labor pool of 28,100. The additional 100 Carson City jobs is on top of the roughly 400 added in February.

Douglas County also saw some improvement in March, lowering its rate 0.3 percent to 14.8 percent. There are 3,130 looking for work in Douglas's 21,150 person labor force.

Churchill County remained at 11.3 percent unemployment over the month. Of the 12,970 in Churchill's labor force, 1,460 are out of work.

Lyon County continues to have Nevada's worst unemployment rate at 18.6 percent. But that's 0.4 percent better than February. With 22,150 workers, Lyon reports 4,120 jobless.

Nearly half the additional jobs statewide, 4,600, were in the leisure and hospitality area, primarily in Las Vegas. Most of that increase was in accommodations and food services.

Business and business services industries added 3,400 workers statewide while health care and social services added 2,000 and retail trade 1,100.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said over the past year, leisure and hospitality has added more than 7,100 jobs. The opening of the Cosmopolitan contributed the biggest portion of those jobs. Visitor volume, he said, has risen in 17 of the past 18 months.

Some of those gains were partially offset by continued job losses in construction, financial services and manufacturing In addition, public sector employment is down 3,600 jobs in the past year and, given the budget woes of state and local governments, is expected to continue to fall.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment