Nevada’s Unemployment Rate Slightly Increases in March to 9.7 Percent

In March, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Nevada rose to 9.7 percent, up from 9.6 percent in February. The rise in the unemployment rate ended 20 months of the rate either declining or holding steady, said Bill Anderson, chief economist for Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). As for the state’s three metro areas, Las Vegas’ rate remained at 9.8 percent, down from 11.7 percent a year ago. The Reno/Sparks area unemployment rate slightly decreased from 10.1 percent in February to 10 percent in March. Carson City’s rate dropped slightly from 10.7 percent in February, to 10.6 percent, but continues to have the highest rate of all the metro areas. However, it is down considerably from 12.2 percent a year ago.

“Nevada’s economy has been improving, and overall, I’m pleased with the general direction of the State’s labor market,” Governor Brian Sandoval said. “So far this year unemployment is down roughly two percent, and preliminary estimates show that we have created 25,000 more jobs to date than we had at this point last year. However, the slight uptick in the jobless rate in March underscores that our recovery remains fragile and we must continue our efforts to strengthen and diversify our State’s economy.”

Over the year, the unemployment rate has dropped from 11.6 percent in March of 2012, and unemployment is down by 28,000 to 132,900 this month. The slight increase in the unemployment rate for March is attributable to changes in the
employment picture, Anderson said.

Total nonagricultural employment in Nevada declined by an estimated 2,900 jobs (seasonally adjusted) in March, which follows a revised loss of 4,100 jobs in February. Typically, March non-farm job levels expand by about 7,300 relative to the prior month. This year, however, just 4,400 jobs were added, resulting in the seasonally adjusted decline.

“So far this year, job growth appears to be slowing a bit after exceeding expectations in the second half of 2012,” Anderson said. “Still, year-over-year comparisons show Nevada growing at a 2.3 percent rate, or 25,500 jobs, relative to the first three months of last year. Despite the decline in non-farm payroll jobs and a slight increase in the unemployment rate, nearly all over-the-year comparisons are evidence of an ongoing mild recovery in Nevada’s labor market.”