LAS VEGAS -- The unemployment rate in the Las Vegas metropolitan area fell to 8.6 percent in November, 1.2 percentage points below the same month a year ago, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported Friday.
The statewide unemployment rate also dropped to 9 percent last month, an improvement from 9.3 percent in October. The Las Vegas unemployment rate in October was 9.4 percent.
"I am encouraged by recent labor market trends," Governor Brian Sandoval said. "The unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since November 2008 and employment has increased for 35 consecutive months (measured on a year-over-year basis), with nearly every sector of Nevada's economy making a contribution. As we end 2013, Nevada expects to have added approximately 50,000 jobs since 2010. However, with 123,000 Nevadans still unemployed, we must continue our efforts to strengthen and diversify the State's economy."
Nevada added 9,500 jobs in November, including 8,600 in the private sector, according to seasonally adjusted data. The Las Vegas area accounted for 5,900 of the total gains, with employment numbers rising from 844,900 to 850,800.
"While the continued decline in the unemployment rate is good news, Nevada's recovery is still slow compared to other states," chief Nevada economist Bill Anderson said. "Because the Silver State was the hardest hit, its recovery will take longer. Of the jobs lost during 2007 to 2011, about one-quarter of them have returned."
Estimated data shows that Las Vegas made its biggest gains in retail, adding 6,500 jobs from October to November. This included 3,000 added jobs in general merchandise and clothing.
Some 1,700 jobs also were added in the professional and business services sector, including 900 in administrative and support services. State and local government added an estimated 300 jobs each.
But the construction sector continued to suffer, losing 1,400 jobs. Leisure and hospitality also lost 300 jobs.
The state's Nevada labor market overview for November disclosed that only one quarter of the jobs lost in the state from 2007 through 2011 have returned. But employment in the retail sector is now above pre-recession levels. There were 139,800 retail jobs in 2007, a number that fell to 127,200 in 2010. In November, that number stood at 143,400 jobs.
"Although some areas of the labor market are bouncing back, real wages, which account for inflation, are not," the report stated. "Comparing the first six months of the year relative to the same period in the previous year, total wages have grown by 0.8 percent. However, inflation has grown at a rate of 1.5 percent, indicating that Nevada's average weekly wages are not keeping up with inflation."
It also was reported that in the second quarter of 2013 more than three quarters of the new private sector jobs created in Nevada came from small businesses with up to 99 employees.