Bank: Data homes in on Elko labor, mining activity
A slowdown in mining impacted the Elko County workforce in the first half of 2015, but the unemployment rate is less than what was recorded a year ago.
“Elko County has not shared in Nevada’s recent employment growth trend,” Nevada State Bank stated in its most recent economic update.
“The region’s job market expanded between 2010 and 2012 when gold prices spiked, but as gold’s value declined in more recent years, so have the number of jobs.”
The county recorded 26,485 people employed in July of this year, down 2.6 percent from the prior year. The unemployment rate, however, dropped from 5.6 percent last year.
“The county’s unemployment rate of 5.2 percent in July remained well below the state level,” the report stated. The county’s total labor force decreased 3 percent from the prior year.
Nevada’s initial unemployment insurance claims had dropped more than 20 percent from the previous year.
Elko County’s taxable retail sales and gaming revenues were up in June and July, respectively. The county saw nearly $22 million in gaming revenues, an increase of 10 percent from 2014. Statewide, taxable retail sales reached a record high for that month.
Elko County’s $135.5 million collected in retail sales was a 5.7 percent increase over the prior year.
The most recent metal ore mining employment data indicated employment was down 2.6 percent statewide in July as compared to the previous year. Metal ore mining employment stood at 11,100.
“Metal ore mining job growth has been in decline since December 2013, which began a stretch of 20 consecutive months of negative year-over-year employment growth,” Nevada State Bank noted in its mining update. “Current employment registered 9.7 percent below the peak level of 12,300 jobs in July 2013.”
The most recent employment data for Elko County was for 2014, when the county employed 2,665 people in that sector.
Mining wages, however, increased substantially in the first quarter of 2015. Average weekly wages for metal ore mining were $2,136, up 28 percent from the prior period and 3.4 percent from the prior year. Total wages for metal ore mining in the first quarter were $310.7 million.
Another sweep by Nevada OSHA officials on July 3 showed 82% of Northern Nevada businesses complying with the mask order, compared to 75% in the south.