Nevada continued adding back jobs in December, lowering the raw unemployment rate from 5.4 to 5.2 percent.
That translates to adding 3,700 jobs during the month.
But the accommodations and food services industry remains well below its pre-pandemic peak of 322,500 jobs in February 2019. That category remains down more than 65,000 jobs, primarily in the tourism core in Clark County.
Gov. Steve Sisolak said one encouraging sign is that 1,000 of the jobs restored in December are in the leisure and hospitality sector.
Other sectors of the economy, however, are doing better than they were before the pandemic struck. That includes transportation, warehousing and utilities at 89,300 jobs — up 12 percent from 2019. Professional business services, retail trade and finance/insurance are also employing more people than before the pandemic.
Overall, employment is up 94,700 jobs since December 2020. Total employment in the state finished the year at 1.37 million.
Over the last year, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Statistical Area added back 78,700 jobs while the Reno/Sparks Metro area added 9,700 during the year.
A total of 984,400 are employed in the Las Vegas MSA and 250,200 in the Reno/Sparks reporting area.
Carson City reported no additional jobs in the past month but has seen an increase of 1,400 jobs in the year. Carson now has 31,100 employed individuals.
While the state continues to add back jobs and reduce its unemployment rate, statistics released Friday say there are still 79,986 individuals looking for work in Nevada.
Seasonally adjusted, Nevada has the nation’s second highest jobless rate at 6.4 percent. That is second only to California’s 6.9 percent rate. The raw rate in many states continues to be significantly lower — just 5.2 percent in Nevada, for example.
Despite the continued improvement, economist Dave Schmidt of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation warned there are still significant hurdles in achieving full recovery, especially the uncertainty around new COVID-19 variants and their impact on businesses and the labor force.