(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – Nevada’s unemployment rate fell for the second consecutive month in November, declining six-tenths of a percentage point to a seasonally adjusted 12.3 percent, but the drop was attributed to a decline in the state labor force.
The decline from a revised 12.9 percent unemployment rate in October was reported today by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. An estimated 161,400 Nevadans were actively searching for work in November.
“On the surface, the decline in the rate is a positive sign, indicating the recession is beginning to subside,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the agency. “Unfortunately, a more detailed review of the components of the unemployment rate reveals a troubling trend. Primary amongst them is the decline of the state’s labor force.”
Nevada’s labor force contracted for the second month in a row in November, falling by 1.5 percent, meaning roughly 13,900 workers either left the state or were too discouraged to seek employment, he said.
The labor force deteriorated in both of the state’s major metropolitan areas, causing the unemployment rate to decline significantly. In the Las Vegas area, the rate declined nine-tenths of a point, to 12.1 percent, marking the largest one month drop on record going back to 1990.
A similar drop occurred in the Reno-Sparks area, where the jobless rate fell from 12.2 to 11.3 percent. Carson City’s unemployment rate declined six-tenths of a percent to 11.2 percent.
Unemployment rates for the state’s metropolitan areas are not adjusted for seasonality. For comparison purposes, the state’s unadjusted unemployment rate was 11.8 percent in November.
Some of Nevada’s rural economies continue to enjoy the benefits of a robust gold market.
Gold prices recently topped $1,200 per ounce, Anderson said.
“All of this bodes well for the mining region’s labor market,” he said. “The unemployment rate is already considerably lower than the state as a whole.”
In the Elko metropolitan area, which includes Elko and Eureka counties, the unemployment rate is just 5.9 percent, nearly 6 points lower than the statewide average.
“Nevada’s mining industry will continue to thrive as long as the current economic situation persists,” Anderson said.
Following a one month reprieve, employment in both the private and public sectors of the state continued to fall, losing 9,200 jobs in November. Despite the partial opening of City Center in Las Vegas, prolonged weakness in the leisure and hospitality industry resulted in the industry losing another 5,700 jobs statewide.
Public sector employers shed 2,100 jobs, perhaps due to ongoing budget woes, he said.