Reno/Sparks unemployment rate dips to 3%; area added 1,900 jobs in May
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Statewide, less than 4 percent of Nevadans were jobless as May came to a close.
The raw unemployment rate for the state was at just 3.8 percent, the same as in April, but six-tenths below what it was in May 2018, according to statistics released in late June by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
Carson City, too, was at 3.8 percent with just 1,000 seeking work in a labor force of 26,500. That is eight-tenths below a year ago. The capital added 200 jobs in May and is up 1,100 over the year.
The Reno/Sparks metropolitan reporting area, which includes Storey County (and the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center), was at 3 percent unemployment. Just 7,900 people were looking for work in a total labor force of 263,800. The Reno/Sparks area added 1,900 jobs in May and is up 15,100 jobs over the year.
Las Vegas, meanwhile, was at 4 percent with 45,200 jobless in a labor force of 1.12 million. The Las Vegas reporting area added 4,100 jobs over the month and is up 27,700 over the year.
Gov. Steve Sisolak pointed out that the state has added 55,200 jobs over the year.
“I’m pleased to see that our private sector is the fastest growing in the nation and that our average weekly wages have increased over the year,” he said.
The largest contributor to growth in domestic product was manufacturing at 19.1 percent, highest in the nation, according to the state.
The monthly report from DETR also points out that initial claims for unemployment benefits were just 9,432 during the month, down 3.6 percent.
DETR Chief Economist Dave Schmidt said average weekly wages are now at $1,006 compared to $955 last year.
He said the only category of workers seeing higher unemployment is those aged 16-24. That group has an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent — fully 2.6 percent higher than a year ago.
Churchill County’s jobless rate actually ticked up a tenth from April to May but is still at just 3.6 percent. Officials report just 383 people looking for work in a labor force of 10,734.
Douglas County remained steady in May at 3.9 percent — 890 seeking work out of 22,900.
Lyon County is one of the few counties over the 4 percent mark, but Lyon improved by a tenth in May to 4.4 percent. Out of 22,850 in the labor force, 1,006 are seeking employment.
Beyond Reno/Sparks, there are several counties at or below 3 percent: Elko at 2.9 percent, Eureka at 2.4 percent, Humboldt at 2.8 percent, Lander at 3 percent and White Pine at 2.9 percent. All are counties where the mining industry drives employment.
The county with the highest unemployment rate in May was Nye, where 5.2 percent of workers were jobless.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.