Friday, Aug. 21, 2009 | 6:53 a.m.
Beyond the Sun
CARSON CITY – Unemployment in the Las Vegas area jumped to 13.1 percent in July.
The state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation said the 13.1 percent compares to 12.3 percent in June and to 6.9 percent in July a year ago. Statewide, unemployment rose from 12 percent in June to 12.5 percent in July with 179,300 persons jobless.
Those working in construction and in hotels-casinos declined from June in Southern Nevada.
William Anderson, chief economist for the department, said “Nevada is in the midst of the longest, deepest recession since World War II and recent labor market trends show no sign of improvement, particularly unemployment which has surged at a record pace in recent months.”
He said, “The Las Vegas-Paradise metro area, including all of Clark County, has been particularly hard hit, with an unemployment rate of 13.1 percent. It is not only the highest unemployment rate among Nevada’s metro areas, it also ranks in the top five across all areas of similar size in the U.S.”
The national unemployment rate was 9.4 percent.
The department said the jobless rate in the Reno-Sparks area rose from 11.7 percent in June to 12.2 percent in July. Carson City’s rate increased from 11.5 percent to 11.7 percent in July. Unemployment in Elko inched up from 6.6 percent in June to 6.7 percent in July.
Anderson said since April the jobless rate has risen 1.9 percent, or 27,600 more unemployed -- the largest three-month surge on a percentage basis going back to 1976.
Total employment in the Las Vegas area fell from 886,400 in June to 880,300 in July. There were 132,600 jobless, or 7,800 more than in June. Anderson said the job market should rebound some this fall with the opening of City Center.
He said a reported 10,000 jobs will be created but some gains will be offset with losses in construction and cannibalization of existing properties.
Construction employment in Southern Nevada was off in July. The department reported 74,400 workers in that industry, down 2,200 from the previous month.
The hotel-casino industry had 153,400 people on the job in July, down 1,500 from June. And employment is 8.8 percent lower than a year ago in July. Anderson said the leisure and hospitality sector “continues to limp along.”
“For 13 months in a row, fewer visitors have come to Las Vegas,” Anderson said. In June the visitor count was down by 6.3 percent. “The drop in visitors and apparent change in playing habits is evident in gaming revenue figures.”
The department said employment in the trade, transportation and utilities sector fell by 400 jobs to 153,900 in the Las Vegas area. And the number working was 4.5 percent lower than a year ago in July.
Manufacturing employment in July dropped by 100 jobs to 23,800. But it was 7.8 percent lower than a year ago.