Las Vegas Sun

September 3, 2015

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the economy:

Jobless rate hits record 15 percent in Las Vegas

CARSON CITY – The unemployment rate in the Las Vegas area in September climbed to 15 percent, setting a record.

There were an estimated 145,400 jobless in Southern Nevada -- about 3,000 more than in August, when the rate was 14.7 percent.

The state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation said Nevada’s jobless rate held steady in September at 14.4 percent, marking the first time since January that the rate didn't increase. It was only the second time the state rate hadn't risen since the recession started, but it still exceeded the national jobless rate of 9.6 percent and California at 12.4 percent.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for the department, said “In recent months, growth in unemployment has begun to subside, suggesting some stabilization.”

But the employment picture in Las Vegas hasn't improved. The number of workers in construction dropped to 46,300, a decline of 900 from August. Manufacturing held steady with 19,700 employed.

Employment at hotel-casinos and gaming dropped 100 workers in Las Vegas to 153,400 in September compared to August.

Government employment in the Las Vegas area grew from 90,000 in August to 95,400 in September. Much of that was attributed to the return of teachers to the classroom.

Professional and business services employment in Las Vegas inched up to 99,700, a gain of 700 workers from August.

The department reported the Reno-Sparks area registered a 13.6 percent jobless rate, up from 13.3 percent in August. Carson City’s unemployment increased from 13.1 percent in August to 13.4 percent in September. And the Elko rate grew from 7.7 percent in August to 7.9 percent in September.

Anderson said, “The slowing rate of increase suggests the labor market may finally be bottoming out, though September’s nonfarm employment levels seem to suggest otherwise.”

He said, “A number of economic indicators important to Nevada’s fortunes have been showing signs of life” in recent months. “Visitation to Las Vegas has increased nearly every month in the last year,” Anderson said.

He added that in recent months, both taxable sales and gaming win recorded large over-the year gains.

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