Economists Say Recession Over, Nevadans Say Not So Fast - 8 News NOW

Economists Say Recession Over, Nevadans Say Not So Fast

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LAS VEGAS -- It has been the longest recession since World War II, but experts say it's been over since last year. For those living in Nevada, it may be a hard pill to swallow.

New numbers show the state still leads the nation in unemployment. Over 192,000 Nevadans were out of work in August. That 14.4-perecent unemployment rate is up from 14.3-percent in July.

But in Las Vegas, there was a small decline. The rate fell to 14.7-percent.

The number crunchers and academics with the National Bureau of Economic Research have made a bold declaration -- America's recession ended in June of last year. Tell that to the Nevadans sinking into poverty, and they don't buy it.

Outside Nevada JobConnect, strangers are connecting by sharing stories of hardship and pain. They're not trained economists, but they live the recession every day.

Kenneth Howland lost his job as a cabbie today and has no place to go tonight.

"The recession is not over," he said. "This is a full blown depression to me. I'm homeless. I worked here for nine years, and just like that, the rug got pulled out from under me."

Out of work for three years, Shareef Karim longs for those days when he was a forklift operator, but he keeps applying.

"It's very frustrating -- very frustrating. All you can do is keep your faith," he said. "Anything. Burger King, McDonald's, name it. (They are) not hiring. It's like a lockout."

Nevada's economy plummeted when the housing bubble popped. Gaming fell down on its luck as the jobless rate grew worse than Michigan's.

Analyst Jeremy Aguero says while America's Great Recession may have ended in June 2009, that's not the case here.

"Right now, while we may very well be able to look back and say, 'Ok, a year ago the national economy came out of a recession,' I don't think we can say the same thing today about southern Nevada," he said.

The Center for Business and Economic Research at UNLV says Las Vegas' real estate and construction sectors are likely at or near bottom. Also, experts at UNLV say positive signs in the leisure and hospitality industry may be a hint that Nevada is seeing the first signs of recovery.

But until the U.S. economy shows significant progress, Nevada's economy will remain stagnant.

Meantime, Howland is ready to try for a job elsewhere. With no money, he says he's trapped, by the recession he believes won't be over here for some time.

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