Nevada jobless rate hits record low; Reno’s rises to 3.4 percent |

Nevada jobless rate hits record low; Reno’s rises to 3.4 percent

Geoff Dornan

CARSON CITY, Nev. — While Nevada’s raw unemployment rate actually increased in January, the seasonally adjusted rate fell a tenth to 3.6 percent.

According to Dave Schmidt, chief economist for the Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation, that is the lowest jobless rate reported in the state since 1976 and the first time since July 2007 that the Nevada rate has matched the national rate.

The raw rate, however, spiked upward by four tenths to 3.8 percent from December to January.

With unemployment insurance claims also at historic lows, Schmidt said the competition for the diminishing pool of workers should support rising wages and expanded job opportunities.

In Reno, the jobless rate spiked upward in January, rising from 2.6 percent to 3.4 percent with 8,800 seeking work in a pool of 260,400. Reno lost 600 goods-producing jobs over the past year, but gained 5,800 service-providing jobs.

Carson City saw a spike in the jobless rate in January, an increase of seven tenths of a percent to 4.1 percent jobless. Over the past year, Carson City added 200 goods producing jobs and 400 service jobs. Just 1,100 people out of 26,500 in the labor force are looking for work.

Regionally, the category reporting the biggest gain in total jobs is construction, and a disproportionate percentage of that increase is in the Reno-Washoe County reporting area.

Churchill County, like Carson City, saw a seven tenths increase, finishing January at 3.7 percent. That translates to just 422 people without work in a labor force of 11,371.

Douglas County’s rate increased by four tenths to 3.9 percent with 919 jobless in the 23,286 labor force.

Lyon County, which has lagged behind most of the rest of the state throughout the long recovery, suffered a full percentage point increase in January to 5 percent. That is the highest unemployment rate in the state. There are 1,164 seeking work there in a pool of 23,427.

In all, 16 of Nevada’s 17 counties saw increases in the unemployment rate in January. The exception was Esmeralda County where unemployment decreased by four tenths to 3.9 percent. But every Nevada county has fewer jobless than a year ago.

Schmidt said there are now 1.56 million workers in the state, an increase of 327,500 from the bottom of the recession in 2010.