Unemployment at 29% in Las Vegas, May report shows

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — May statistics show the unemployment rate starting to drop in Las Vegas as the city took its first steps in recovering from the COVID-19 crisis.

After hitting 33% unemployment in April, Las Vegas was at 29% in May, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

Statewide, unemployment in May was at 25.3%, down from 30.1% in April.

DETR also reports that nearly $500 million in unemployment benefits were paid in May — $417.5 million in Clark County. Average weekly payments were $355. While first initial claims for benefits fell from April’s levels, they continued “at levels higher than at any other point in state history.”

Clark County saw 333,230 continued claims — more than 83% of Nevada’s total.

DETR reports improvement overall in a report that looks at the state’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).

Compared to 2019, the statistics are still bleak as COVID-19 continued to prevent normal economic activity. Jobs were down 21.3% — 220,400 jobs — in Las Vegas alone. Reno’s decline was 11.7% compared to 2019, and Carson City was down 11.4%.

Construction jobs grew, adding 3,900 jobs in Las Vegas since 2019.

“As with last week’s statewide report, today’s report reflects the second month of business closures due to Nevada’s response to COVID-19,” said David Schmidt, chief economist for DETR.

“Two trends are clear in this data: the Las Vegas area has been the hardest-hit area of the state, and no area of the state has been unaffected. We see significant job loss in service industries in all our MSAs, and high unemployment around the state,” he said.

“Due to the focused impact on nonessential businesses, areas with higher population density like Las Vegas, Reno, Carson City, and Elko have been particularly impacted by these closures. June’s data will give us a better indication of the early impacts of the phased re-openings taking place at the end of May and early June,” Schmidt said.

More details:

Employment (Seasonally Adjusted):

  • Las Vegas employment increased 20,900 jobs since April and decreased 220,400 jobs since May 2019 a decline of 21.3%.
  • Reno employment increased 5,900 jobs since April and decreased 29,000 jobs since May 2019 a decline of 11.7%.
  • Carson City employment increased 300 jobs since April and decreased 3,500 jobs since May 2019 a decline of 11.4%.

Unemployment (Not Seasonally Adjusted):

  • Las Vegas MSA’s unemployment was 29% in May compared to April’s rate of 34% and 4% in May 2019.
  • Reno MSA’s unemployment was 16% in May compared to April’s rate of 20.4% and 3.1% in May 2019.
  • Carson City MSA’s unemployment was 15.2% in May compared to April’s rate of 21.1% and 3.8% in May 2019.
  • The unemployment rate in the Elko area was 11.4% in May compared to April’s rate of 13.7% and 2.7% in May 2019.
  • The Fallon area’s unemployment rate was 8.3% in May compared to April’s rate of 11.3% and 3.5% in May 2019.
  • The unemployment rate in Lyon County was 13.6% in May compared to April’s rate of 18.9% and 4.4% in May 2019.
  • Douglas County’s unemployment rate was 14% in May compared to April’s rate of 18.8% and 4% in May 2019.
  • The unemployment rate in Nye County was 15.1% in May compared to April’s rate of 19.5% and 5.1% in May 2019.
  • The unemployment rate in the Winnemucca area was 7.6% in May compared to April’s rate of 8.4% and 2.7% in May 2019.

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