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Nevada jobless rate ticks down to 8.7 percent

Updated Monday, March 17, 2014 | 4:08 p.m.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that Nevada posted the largest percentage increase in job growth over the past year of any state.

“Nevadans are resilient, and together we have made great strides in our ongoing effort to rebuild our economy,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement.

Nevada’s unemployment rate ticked down to 8.7 percent in January, marking the 37th month of year-over-year job growth.

January’s rate was down from a revised 9 percent in December, the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported. Nevada’s unemployment rate remains the second-highest in the nation behind Rhode Island. The national jobless rate was 6.6 percent.

“The steady job growth is encouraging. Still, more work must be done to provide economic security in families all across this great state,” Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said in a statement.

Bill Anderson, the department’s chief economist, said while job losses that mounted in the tens of thousands during the recession have receded to post-recessionary levels, lack of job growth in recent months has held back Nevada’s recovery.

Nevada still has 92,000 fewer jobs than when the recession began and 118,500 people were unemployed in January. But Anderson said the tide appears to be shifting as job gains are starting to outpace losses.

In Las Vegas, January’s jobless rate remained unchanged at 8.9 percent.

Heller and Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island announced last week that they had struck a deal to extend emergency unemployment insurance benefits for five months.

Such a deal has proved elusive since funding for extended benefits expired on Dec. 28. But this deal should have enough votes to squeak through the Senate, provided none of the 55 Democratic senators votes against it.

“The Senate will quickly move to act on this compromise when we return to Washington next week,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said today. “Nevadans who are out of work deserve this peace of mind while they continue to search for work.”

Las Vegas Sun reporter Karoun Demirjian and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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