Las Vegas Sun

September 17, 2014

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Nevada unemployment rate reaches 14-year high

CARSON CITY – The jobless rate in Nevada climbed to 6.4 percent in June, the highest rate in more than 14 years.

In February 1994, unemployment also posted 6.4 percent rate.

There were an estimated 90,500 unemployed or a growth of 27,200 individuals since January, says Bill Anderson, chief economist for the state Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation.

Anderson said he assumed that a great number of individuals are re-entering the job market because of rising prices. And June has a typical increase because of youngsters out of school seeking jobs.

Claims for unemployment checks climbed more than 33 percent higher than a year ago.

And non-agricultural employment in Nevada continued to slide. For the first time since 2002, year-over-year growth has declined for four consecutive months. There were 1,290,200 people employed in industries, down 0.9 percent compared to June 2007.

The jobless rate in the Las Vegas area jumped to 6.5 percent, up from 5.8 percent in May. There were an estimated 64,600 unemployed. And there were 19,300 more persons out of work this June than a year ago.

Anderson said, “Employers are being forced to adjust to a challenging business climate constrained by fuel-related inflation and lagging consumer demand.

“Businesses are finding it difficult to pass price increases on to customers and are struggling to maintain employment levels,” he said.

The troubles in the casino industry are adding to the state’s woes. Nevada's gaming win has been down every month so far this year. Anderson said total win in May fell below $1 billion for the first time in 11 months.

While the unemployment rates in the metropolitan areas are above 6 percent, some parts of rural Nevada are not feeling that bad a pinch. Anderson said the rates in the mining areas of Elko, Eureka, Lander and White Pine counties were below 5 percent.

“The price of gold remains near all-time highs and appears to be stimulating new investment,” he said.

He said several existing mines that previously reached or were approaching the end of their productive lives are finding new life.

The department reported industrial employment in the Las Vegas area at 927,000 in June, down 0.7 percent. The number of people employed in casino hotels and gaming dropped to 173,500, down 1.8 percent for June compared to the same month of a year ago.

In the Reno-Sparks area, unemployment rose from 6.1 percent in May to 6.4 percent in June. Carson City’s rate jumped from 6.3 percent in May to 6.7 percent in June.

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