Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 | 8:44 a.m.
CARSON CITY — Unemployment in the Las Vegas area fell to 12.5 percent in November, its lowest point since May.
The state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported today that the number of people working in the area was 811,000, with gains in construction and trade, transportation and utilities.
This is the first time since May the rate in the Las Vegas area has been below the state average.
Statewide, the Nevada rate dropped to 13 percent, with 171,800 jobless.
Gov. Brian Sandoval said the rate, while still too high, shows there has been a steady increase in hiring.
“In addition to a trend of adding jobs on a consistent basis, we are beginning to see increased signs of growth,” he said.
In the Las Vegas area, the 12.5 percent rate is the lowest since 12.1 percent recorded in May.
The department reported the number of people employed in construction rose to 42,700.
Those employed in trade, transportation and utilities increased from 144,200 in October to 147,300, as the Christmas hiring shopping season started to kick off in the Las Vegas area.
Employment in manufacturing in Las Vegas totaled 18,400, down 100 employees in October. Casino employment dropped from 163,300 in October to 160,900 in November.
Bill Anderson, chief economist for the department, said the economy is showing signs of stabilization, adding 1,300 jobs statewide over October and 7,800 jobs since June.
Unemployment in the Reno-Sparks area fell from 12.1 percent in October to 11.6 percent in November. The Carson City rate also inched down from 12 percent in October to 11.7 percent in November.
The national rate was 8.6 percent.
But the department says the unemployment rate may be deeper than the figures suggest in Nevada.
“When you account for the discouraged (includes the unemployed who would like a job, but are not seeking employment) and the underemployed due to economic reasons, the unemployment rate is running at 23.3 percent based on a four quarter moving average. But that is down 0.4 percent from the first quarter of 2011,” the department said.