Despite strong job growth, Nevada unemployment rate still among nation’s highest

Despite strong job growth, Nevada unemployment rate still among nation’s highest
Photo by David Vives on Unsplash

by Jeniffer Solis, Nevada Current

CARSON CITY — Amid rising inflation, Nevada continues to have one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation despite a steady growth of jobs in the state.

According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in April, Nevada was among three states with reported March unemployment rates of 5% or more. Nevada tied with Alaska for the third highest unemployment rate in the country at 5%.

Nevada has had the nation’s highest, or nearly highest, unemployment rate throughout the pandemic, highlighting the state’s status as one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.

New Mexico and the District of Columbia reported the highest unemployment rates at 5.3% and 6%, respectfully. Two states—Nebraska and Utah—had the lowest unemployment rate of 2%.

Nationally, unemployment is down to 3.6%, which is down from 6% a year ago.

The unemployment rate is an indication of the number of people in the workforce actively looking for jobs. The unemployment rate does not include the number of Americans who have left the workforce altogether since the start of the pandemic.

As many Nevadans are still looking for work, the state’s workforce is also encountering a higher cost of living. Earlier this week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data showing the cost of food increased 8.8% from a year ago. Over the last 12 months, all items indexed by the agency increased 8.5% before seasonal adjustment.

Nevada added 5,400 jobs in March as the state continues to recover from the COVID pandemic, according to figures released Friday by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).

The state’s March unemployment rate of 5%, is down from 5.1% in February and down by 4.2% when compared to March 2021. Employment is up 120,600 since March 2021, an annual increase of 9.1%. The total employment level in the state is 1,440,400. 

David Schmmidt, chief economist at DETR, said the total statewide employment moved within 10,000 jobs of its pre-pandemic peak. 

“Las Vegas saw the fastest job growth in the state over the year, and Reno set a new all-time high for employment. The unemployment rate continues to decline, and claims for unemployment benefits are at multi-decade lows,” Schmidt said. 

Employment in the Las Vegas metro area increased by 1,300 jobs since February, and increased by 116,600 jobs since March 2021. Reno-area employment had an increase of 1,300 jobs since February, and increased by 10,700 jobs since March 2021.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak welcomed the positive job growth in the state.

“I’m pleased to see that Nevada’s businesses continue to grow and that Nevadans continue to find new jobs and new opportunities. We are committed to doing all we can to connect Nevadans to job opportunities and build a stronger and more diverse economic foundation to create an economy that works for Nevada’s families” said Sisolak.

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