Nevada hits lowest jobless rate in 20 years

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada's unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in 20 years in December.

The state finished 2019 at 3.8 percent seasonally adjusted — and just 3.3 percent without that adjustment.

David Schmidt, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said six counties were at 20-year lows, Douglas County hit a 19-year low, and both Clark and Washoe counties were within a tenth of a percent of a 20-year low.

Over the year, Nevada added 27,400 jobs, and all three Metropolitan Statistical Areas had significantly faster employment growth than the national rate of 1.4 percent.

Reno grew jobs at 3.8 percent – 9,500 jobs — during the year. Carson City added 3.3 percent or 1,000 more jobs and Las Vegas 2.4 percent or 24,800 jobs.

That produced jobless rates of just 2.6 percent in Reno, 3.3 percent in Carson City and 3.5 percent in Las Vegas. Schmidt pointed out those numbers are a full 10 percent lower than at the height of the recession.

According to previous reports, the leading driver for new jobs in Reno-Sparks in 2019 was professional and business services, which added 3,500 jobs,. The area's other top sectors for job growth last year were trade, transportation and utilities (2,100), construction (1,700) and manufacturing (1,500).

“Our state sustained a massive economic blow at the start of the decade, but enters the next with solid job growth and low unemployment which should continue to provide opportunities for job seekers across the state,” said Schmidt.

In Carson City, there are now just 900 of the capital's 26,600 labor force out of work. That labor force includes 10,100 government employees.

In Reno, only 7,100 workers in a pool of 272,300 are jobless; in Las Vegas, it's 39,700 out of 1.14 million.

The state's rural counties also benefited significantly over the decade. Those at a 20-year low are Churchill at 3 percent, Elko and White Pine each at 2.6 percent, Lyon at 4 percent and Mineral at 3.3 percent with Douglas at a 19-year low of 3.5 percent.

Eureka County continues to have the lowest jobless rate in Nevada at just 2.3 percent. That translates to just 24 people out of work and seeking employment.


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