Job losses projected in mining

Employment in mining, the cornerstone of the Elko-area economy, may be at the start of a long decline, State Demographer Jeff Hardcastle said last week.

He estimates that the mining industry in Elko County will lose 1,600 jobs — 46 percent of the sector’s current employment in the county — in the next 20 years.

Neighboring Eureka County, the home of many mines that employ Elko residents, could lose another 180 mining jobs over the next two decades.

Hardcastle said he isn’t projecting a collapse in the industry, just a return to normal times after the boom driven by high gold prices in recent years.

And he said the downturn is likely to be gradual. Mining employment in Elko County currently is estimated at 3,452. The demographer estimates it will decline to 3,170 by 2019 and dip to 1,844 by 2033.

But jobs in fields such as healthcare and wholesale and retail trade will take up the slack. The State Demographer’s Office estimates Elko County will add 4,378 jobs in the next 20 years, even with the potential loss of mining employment.

John Seelmeyer


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