LAS VEGAS -- Nevada's unemployment rate in December fell to a seasonally adjusted 8.8 percent, two-tenths of a percentage point below the prior month and the lowest reading achieved by the state since November 2008.
But the Las Vegas metropolitan area saw unemployment climb from 8.6 percent in November to 8.9 percent in December, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported Monday. The positive news for Las Vegas was that the December performance was still better than the 10 percent unemployment rate recorded a year ago.
"I am pleased that Nevada ended 2013 on a positive note," Governor Brian Sandoval said. "The unemployment rate declined in each of the year's final four months, to its lowest reading since late 2008 and jobs were added for three straight months at the end of 2013. While this is good news for our state, our unemployment rate is still too high. As 2014 begins, all indications suggest additional improvement, with trends pointing to further job growth and a continued decrease in the unemployment rate."
Bill Anderson, the state's chief economist, said seasonal hiring was relatively strong in the final months of 2013. The state added an estimated 18,900 private sector jobs last year.
"It appears that job losses have receded to ‘normal' levels and are hovering around pre recession lows," Anderson said. "However, gross job gains, a proxy for hiring activity, remain stubbornly low. Although job trends have turned positive, hiring activity needs to pick up to see more noticeable net gains."
Las Vegas had 855,400 jobs in December, 16,700 more than a year earlier but 2,700 fewer than in November.
The year over year gains included 6,500 new jobs in retail, 5,400 in government, 4,600 in professional and business services, and 3,100 each in education and health services and in food services and drinking places.
The job losses over the past year included 3,300 in construction, 2,800 in accommodation, 1,300 in casino hotels, and 700 in transit and ground passenger services.
The job gains from November to December in Las Vegas included 700 in general merchandising and clothing, 600 in local government, and 200 each in manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, and health care and social assistance.
Employment losses last month included 1,800 in food services and drinking places, 1,200 in accommodation, 900 in casino hotels, 700 in construction, 400 in financial activities (including 300 in real estate, rental and leasing), 300 in employment services, and 200 in transit and ground passenger services.