Las Vegas Sun

January 26, 2015

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The economy:

Public sector takes biggest jobs hit

Las Vegas unemployment rate leaps to 13.8 percent in June, state says

Unemployment numbers released Friday showed joblessness shot up to 13.8 percent in the Las Vegas area in June, the highest mark this year, reflecting the loss of thousands of government jobs — schools, university and municipal — because of the state’s budget deficit.

State economists don’t expect unemployment to top all-time highs of 15.7 percent in Las Vegas in July 2010 and 14.9 percent statewide in December 2010.

There are a few bright spots in Nevada’s otherwise gloomy employment report: Restaurants and hotels, the health care industry and services for businesses — which can include landscaping, waste management and payroll services — have added jobs.

But the picture is a sober one for a tourism-dependent state that once boasted the nation’s strongest job growth.

The actual unemployment rate, including people who want to work but can’t find jobs, was 24 percent statewide from January through March. Second-quarter figures aren’t yet available.

Nevada’s labor force — working people plus unemployed seeking work — peaked in December 2008 at 1.4 million people. That figure is down 44,000 people so far this year compared with the same period last year.

“A lot of the decline in the unemployment rate this year has been due to people dropping out of the labor market,” Jared McDonald, an economist for the Nevada Employment Training and Rehabilitation Department, said Friday.

Nevada’s official unemployment figures only count people actively looking for work.

In Las Vegas, an estimated 130,300 people were jobless in June. That was 14,000 more than May when the rate was 12.4 percent.

“An analysis of the June labor market condition suggests the recent weakness evident at the national level may be trickling into the Silver State,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist with the Employment Department.

Nevada and the nation haven’t escaped a double-dip recession.

“If we got into a national recession, all bets are off,” McDonald said.

The Employment Department said the state’s rate rose from 12.1 percent in May to 12.4 percent in June with an estimated 162,900 jobless.

Total employment in Las Vegas dropped from 824,000 workers in May to 812,200 in June, much of that coming from the decrease in government workers.

Overall, Nevada’s job market is essentially flat, Anderson said.

Employment in the resort and gaming industries in Las Vegas rose in June as the summer tourist season opened. There were an estimated 161,300 employed in this segment of the economy, up 1,800 workers from May.

Anderson said some of the gains are seasonal “but some can be attributed to the uptick in tourism Las Vegas has experienced so far in 2011.”

The leisure and hospitality sector, which includes restaurants and other hospitality businesses in addition to casinos, added 7,800 jobs in June compared with a year ago. That helped offset the loss of government jobs, McDonald said.

However, the hard-hit construction industry is depressing job growth. Construction employment in Southern Nevada added 100 workers from May but is down 7,000 jobs from June 2010.

Government employment lost 6,800 workers from May and is down 4,600 jobs from a year ago.

A few other sectors saw growth in June besides hospitality. Education and health services — a category that includes technical private schools and other business training centers as well as hospitals, doctor’s offices and ambulance services — added 4,100 jobs in Las Vegas last month compared with June 2010.

Professional and business services in Las Vegas added 3,700 jobs in June compared with a year ago. That’s a positive indicator for business health in the region, McDonald said.

“When business increases in general, they’re going to start increasing in these services” by hiring temporary workers or other services needed to run their businesses, he said.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector shed 900 jobs from May in Las Vegas and is down 4,600 jobs from June 2010.

The jobless rate in the Reno-Sparks area increased from 11.8 percent in May to 13 percent in June. And Carson City’s rate rose from 11.5 percent in May to 12.5 percent in June.

Anderson said spring job growth statewide in the retail sector stalled in June as employers trimmed 800 jobs. And educational health and services statewide lost 800 jobs.

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  1. I'm one of the government workers who kept his job. My 4.8 percent less salary won't be spent at businesses that supported the Republican party.

  2. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  3. Michael- We don't want your liberal money.

  4. Mr. Garner...

    Since you are declining to take money from "liberals", please specify what your business is, so we can ALL avoid you like the plague.

  5. Gmag, you beat me to it. Go ahead, Jeff. Tell us. Or are you unemployed and living off this liberal's money?

  6. How can this be when all those jobs were created by the Bush tax cuts?

    Oh right, the jobs were created overseas so the rich could save on their taxes.
    Silly me.

  7. "My 4.8 percent less salary won't be spent at businesses that supported the Republican party."

    MichaelGreen -- and how do you determine which party those "businesses" support?

    Government workers are really less entitled to job security than anyone else, since there's little if any actual production contributing to the shambles we call an economy. Government itself is a parasite feeding off the actual production from the body politick.

    For perspective, all, I recommend "Working class is rulers' target in U.S. debt ceiling showdown" @

    "In the general course of human nature, a power over a man's subsistence amounts to a power over his will." -- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper 79, 1787-88

  8. A good place boycott is to look at Koch brother industries and eliminate as many of their products as possible. We also know which Billionaire Casinos hate Liberals. If any Tea partiers would like to be added to the list that they prefer not to accept Liberal Money, Step right up - give us the business name and address.

  9. Gmag, you will not put your name on your posts, a comment tuff guy hiding behind his computer LMAO. At least Mr. Green puts his name up with his post.

    Gmag, until you disclose your name, how dare you call someone else out to give you their info.

    Mr Green. Being that your job is created by peOple that actually create and produce the taxes, that are used to pay for your job, you should be spending more, not less with their businesses. Do not bite the hand that feeds you. I respect your right to free speech, but really disagree with you.

  10. KillerB, despite the Supreme Court misreading the Constitution and turning corporations into humans with First Amendment rights, some campaign contributions remain public record. That strikes me as a good way to make a determination.

    Mr. Lale, I appreciate and respect your opinion. But I also happen to be one of those who create and produce taxes by working my tail off. I am happy to spend what money I make in the state I grew up in, and I do not like to politicize that. But if some idiot is going to help fund people who claim that public employees are not or barely entitled to a living wage (check out the salaries of administrative assistants, which the dishonest right never mentions because it destroys their argument), that person is not entitled to my support or support from anyone else with a brain.

  11. Surprise surprise surprise. The great "Job Creator" our Governor Sandoval cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut. . .and guess what people are now unemployed.

    WOW! Who could have known that laying off people would end up with. . . a rise in unemployment.

    Better yet. . . we haven't learned the lesson yet. People are still shouting that we need to cut, cut, cut, cut, cut. . . wonder what will happened next. . . hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . I wonder. PERHAPS this will create jobs? ONLY if you are in the insane world of "I'm dumb as a rock" or " I enjoy sticking my head in the sand".

    The average person who votes Republican has a problem with their noodle. People better start voting in their own best interest. AND we better start asking the super rich to pay their fair share.

  12. I think to make this article of any information would be to compare the public job numbers in 2003 as to 2011. Is it possible public jobs expanded to much in those boom years? And if so taking a 4.8% pay cut as opposed to loosing that fat government benefits job which is worse? Try really working for a living.

  13. petef
    There is NO comparison between the two years.

    Also in defense of government workers - I worked for the AG's office in NV (May-July '09) before I decided to move back east. Contrary to those who are ill-informed - we were NOT over paid. In fact, I regretted taking the job because the private sector paid me a hell of a lot more money. We worked long hours and never got paid overtime. There were other things that I personally was appalled at since I came from the private sector and I guess was spoiled. During that time - the talk was starting about furlough days, changes in health insurance (not to the employee's benefit), the pension plan and other things. We all agreed that the furlough days, which were to start in a few months were okay because we knew no raises were going to be forthcoming for a long time. And at least we had our jobs because we were told "no layoffs" (LOLOLOL). There were no "fat government benefits"; I can't quite remember but I think the State was going to change the pension plan starting Jan of 2010; don't know if they did. All in all - my paychecks every 2 weeks were at least $300+ LESS than I was making at a private law firm. So don't think gov't employees are rolling in dough. The ONLY time government workers make decent money and enjoy the pension benefits is when they already have been there for a long long time.

    Every State is having a difficult time dealing with the their employees. Here in Illinois, the Governor said to the State employees "sorry no raises" because the State cannot afford it. They proceeded to go to court because according to their contract, raises were automatically grandfathered in. And they won!!! So every state is having problems and like Michael said - he is lucky he has his job.