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January 18, 2008
Nevada's unemployment rate rose for the ninth month in a row, hitting 5.8 percent in December as the state's housing slump continued, according to a report released Friday.
The state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation report shows the seasonally adjusted rate, up from 5.4 percent in November, is the highest since April 2002 and exceeded a national rate of 5 percent in December.
Bill Anderson, the agency's chief economist, said the construction industry continued to lose jobs in December, down about 2,300 from November and down about 7,900 jobs compared with the same month a year earlier.
Total employment in all industries was about 1.3 million in December. About 77,300 Nevadans were unemployed during the month. Total employment was up 2,300 from November, due mainly by hiring in the retail trade and hotel-casino sectors.
While stores added employees, Anderson noted the hiring level was below the average seen in Nevada over the past 10 years. He also noted the financial industry lost 1,500 jobs in 2007, and the temporary help sector shed 8,200 jobs.
"The year 2007 was a less than memorable one for Nevada's economy," Anderson said. "Labor market conditions continued the deterioration that began in 2006. When the final numbers are in, the state is likely to have seen its second weakest job growth -- better only than 2002 -- in the past 15 years."
For the Las Vegas area, non-seasonally adjusted unemployment increased from 5.3 percent to 5.6 percent between November and December. There were about 922,300 people working in the area and the jobless total was 55,200.
The Reno area saw non-seasonally adjusted unemployment increase from 4.8 percent to 5.4 percent in the same period. Employment totaled 219,800, and about 12,500 people were out of work.
Carson City-area unemployment increased from 5.6 percent to 6.1 percent between November and December. Employment in the area totaled about 26,900 and unemployment totaled about 1,800.
Unemployment in Elko and Eureka counties increased from 3.5 percent to 4.2 percent from month to month. There were 25,800 people working in the area during December and about 1,100 without jobs.
A month-to-month breakdown of hiring statewide by specific industries showed an increase of 1,600 retail employees; 900 more workers in government; 2,100 more employees in hotel-casinos, 600 more workers in education-health services; and 1,200 fewer employees in professional business services.
Transportation-warehousing-utilities was up 300; information service hiring was up 100; mining held steady; manufacturing was down 100; and financial activities hiring was up 500.