Nevada unemployment rate drops in January

Nevada's unemployment rate declined significantly in January with the seasonally adjusted rate down seven-tenths to 14.2 percent and the unadjusted rate down 1.2 percent to 13.5 percent.

All major reporting areas in the state reported lower unemployment numbers than in December, but Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said the change was because of a contracting workforce rather than economic improvement.

"It appears likely that some jobless Nevadans are becoming discouraged and giving up their search for work and dropping out of the labor force," he said.

Anderson said January's labor force was 10,700 workers smaller than in December.

Carson City's rate went from 14 percent to 13.6 percent; Reno-Sparks from 13.8 to 13.3 percent; and Elko down two-tenths to 7.6 percent.

January's unemployment level was, however, four-tenths of a percent lower than January 2010, the first year-over-year decline since the start of the recession three years ago.

The retail industry shed 5,900 jobs, but most were temporary seasonal hires. Construction, which normally declines in January because of the weather, lost 3,400 jobs and the leisure/hospitality industry another 3,900 jobs.

Manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, financial activities and business services also saw declines in the number of jobs during January. Anderson said the only industry to report gains in total employment was health care and social assistance, which added 400 jobs.

In Carson City, the number of people in the labor force shrank by 800 compared with December to 27,500. Of that number, 3,700 are looking for work compared with 4,000 a month earlier.

Anderson said there are, however, some good signs. He said economic indicators including visitor statistics, gaming win and taxable sales are slightly ahead of projections.


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