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Las Vegas jobless rate hits record 14.2 percent

Updated Friday, May 21, 2010 | 7:39 a.m.

CARSON CITY – Unemployment in Las Vegas in April shot to a record high of 14.2 percent with an estimated 140,900 residents out of work.

The state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation also said the Nevada jobless rate hit a record high of 13.7 percent for the month.

“While the consensus may be that the recession is nearing the end, employment has not begun to show any signs of real improvement,” said William Anderson, chief economist of the state agency. The jobless rate in the Las Vegas area rose from 13.8 percent in March.

But Anderson said employment in leisure activities in Las Vegas showed a slight improvement. The number of workers employed in casino and hotels rose to 154,100 in April, up 1,100 from March. But when compared to April 2009, the figure was down 2.7 percent.

Anderson said there is some indication the gaming industry has reached or is near the bottom of the downturn.

Employment in the gaming-hotel business has increased each month this year. Gaming win is leveling out after months of declines and visitor volume has improved six of the past seven months in Southern Nevada.

The department said the statewide labor force grew 1.3 percent to 989,600 in April compared to the previous month. Nevada employers added 2,500 jobs in April with most of the increase coming from seasonal hiring in retail trade and leisure and hospitality.

Employers in the Las Vegas area added 1,300 jobs. Employment in the Reno-Sparks area increased by 1,200 and Carson City employers added 200 jobs.

The department said employment in the Las Vegas area rose to 794,400 in April, up 1.3 percent from the prior month. Construction fell to 47,400 jobs in April, down 800 workers from April.

It said employment in trade, transportation and utilities in April rose to 141,900, up 1,000 workers from March in Las Vegas. Employment in April in professional and business services rose to 100,300, up 400 from March.

The state department said the unemployment rate in the Reno-Sparks area rose from 10.8 percent in April 2009 to 13.5 percent in April this year. The unemployment rate in Carson City reached 13.4 percent in April, the same level as March.

The department said statewide employment in casino-hotels and gaming rose to 183,400, up from 182,300 in March. The number of jobs in the state fell to 62,700 in construction, down 700 workers from the previous month.

Trade, transportation and utilities employment statewide in April reached 207,300 jobs in April, 1,100 more than in March.

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