Douglas unemployment climbs in September |

Douglas unemployment climbs in September

Staff Reports

Douglas County’s jobless ranks swelled by 350 people in September bringing the county’s total percentage of unemployed up to 14.7 percent.

In all 19,430 people were employed in the county, 300 fewer than in August. On that total, 50 more were unemployed during the month and 250 left the total labor force, the largest decrease since January.

Douglas continued to have the fifth highest unemployment in the state. State leader Lyon County posted 18.1 percent unemployment. Nye County had 17.2 percent. Clark, the state’s most populous county, posted 15 percent unemployment, a record. Mineral County had 14.8 percent unemployment for fourth place.

State officials say that the statewide unemployment held steady during September at 14.4 percent.

Recently released employment projections show considerable job loss through 2011. In 2012, job loss will subside significantly, but a weak economic climate will keep outright growth in check, according to Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation Chief Economist Bill Anderson. Not until 2013 will the state see broad employment growth.

Even then, expectations are for weak employment growth at best. The recovery will most certainly differ from typical rebounds, but this recession has been anything but typical. Following recent recessions, Nevada’s economy boomed, driven by new growth and construction.

“In recent months, growth in unemployment has begun to subside, suggesting some stabilization,” Anderson said. “The slowing rate of increase suggests the labor market may finally be bottoming out, though September’s nonfarm employment levels seem to suggest otherwise.”

Total nonfarm employment increased by 2,900 in September, thanks in large part to the return of seasonal workers in Nevada’s educational system. The private sector on the other hand, failed to find traction, shedding 4,600 jobs over-the-month, he said. In all, the recession continues to take its toll on Nevada’s tourism and growth based economy.

“For the most part, Nevada’s employers had a rough September regardless of their industry type,” Anderson said. “Employment declined in all private sector industry groups except professional and business services, which added 400 jobs; and manufacturing which held steady.”

The biggest job losers continue to be those most affected by the recession: leisure and hospitality and construction, which lost 1,600 and 1,500 jobs, respectively. Federal government employment continues to decline as the 2010 centennial census winds down. In September, an additional 600 temporary workers lost their jobs. Since peaking in May at 23,100 jobs, the federal government has reduced payrolls by 5,200 workers. Employment in Nevada’s trade sectors remained flat, but with the holiday hiring season just around the corner, employers should start adding jobs over the next couple of months.

Employment readings in Nevada’s regional labor markets mirrored statewide trends. Employers in the Las Vegas area added 2,900 workers in September. Government entities added 5,400 workers, while the leisure and hospitality and construction sectors shed 900 jobs each. In the Reno-Sparks area, employment increased by 100 jobs. Public sector employment increased by 1,600 jobs, while the private sector shed 1,500 jobs in total, led by losses in construction (-500) and leisure and hospitality (-300). Capital City employers bucked statewide trends, where employers in government and professional and business services reduced employment levels by 100 jobs each, while all other major industry sectors remained unchanged.

“A number of economic indicators important to Nevada’s fortunes have been showing signs of life in recent months” Anderson said. “At the national level, personal income has improved, increasing nearly every month this year. Even in Nevada, incomes have seen growth.”

“The question is: when and by how much will income growth translate to improvements in Nevada’s tourism based economy?” Anderson questioned. “That translation has a lot to do with consumers’ willingness and ability to pay for a trip to Nevada. While it’s still early, we may be seeing some tentative signs of improvement.