Unemployment at its lowest since 2008, but up for youths

Local News

Recent data shows Nevada’s unemployment numbers are down at 4.6 – the lowest in more than a decade. 

But the youth unemployment rate remains high.

In southern Nevada it’s more than double the national average.

Alaina Honey sits by a computer and scrolls down a list looking for a new career.

“The job I work at right now isn’t ideal for what I’m looking for.”

The 21-year-old says she works in a vape warehouse but desires a different opportunity.

“I wish to travel,” she said. “That’s why I’m here, to fulfill that dream.”

She’s visiting Workforce Connections.

“I’ve only been here for about an hour, and it’s going good so far.” 

Workforce Connections is a place that helps job seekers access employment, education and training. It also focuses on youth employment.

“We define youth as individuals 16 to 24,” said Melissa Evans, director of workforce development, Workforce Connections.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the national youth unemployment rate at 9.2 percent in July. The lowest number since the 1960s.

But southern Nevada is more than double that at 19.3 percent.

“The youth population is struggling,” Evans said. “If you think about it, this is primarily a hospitality town, and most of these jobs in the gaming industry do require that you’re 21 years old.”

Evans said, another problem is employers want experience.

“Quite frankly, these businesses I think will lean towards someone who is more seasoned than someone who has no experience at all.”

“I’ve seen a lot of traffic of older workers getting back into the workforce,” said Robert Borja, manager, JobConnect office, North Las Vegas.    

Those people are possibly taking jobs from younger people at the moment. 

“I’m over 50, so there are a lot of opportunities for people my age now,” said Leila Palmer-Johnson, looking for a job.

But Honey remains optimistic.

“I’m looking for a truck driver, that’s going to get me a ticket out of here,” she said.

To ride off to a new job.

Evans with Workforce Connections predicts apprenticeships will be growing among the youth in the future. She adds youth employment normally goes up during the summer months. 

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