(las Vegas, NV) — Nevada’s unemployment rate remained at a seasonably adjusted 13.4 percent for October. For the third month in a row, the unemployment rate was unchanged with an estimated 176,400 Nevadans unemployed and looking for work. In Las Vegas, the unemployment rate fell from 13.6 percent in September to 13.1 percent in October.

In the Reno-Sparks area, the rate of joblessness also declined by one-half percentage point falling to 12.1 percent.  In Carson City, the unemployment rate fell four-tenths, falling from 12.4 percent in September to 12.0 percent in October.

“Nevada’s employment and unemployment picture continued to show signs of economic stability with some modest improvement in October,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist for Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). “Overall, there are some positives in this month’s numbers, but for a state looking to bounce back from a deep recession, the numbers leave considerable room for improvement.  Looking forward, chances are that trends will be more similar to the modest gains recorded in the past few months than to the boom-like conditions from a half-decade, or so, ago.

On the positive side, the leisure and hospitality industry added 3,200 jobs.  The increase adds to recent improvement in the last year.  Since October 2010, leisure and hospitality employers have increased payrolls by 14,700, a 4.7 percent increase.  The education and health services sector continues to shine with the addition of 1,400 jobs in October, and employment is up a robust 5.8 percent since the same month last year.  The gain pushed total employment in the sector to 106,300 workers, setting a new all time high.  Lastly, the trade, transportation and utilities sector added 1,400 positions in October, most of them in retail and transportation and warehousing, but employment remains slightly below year-ago levels.

Employers are beginning to bolster staffing in anticipation of the holiday shopping season.  In recent years, the recession negatively impacted typical hiring trends.   Over the last ten years, Nevada’s retail sector employment grew by 5,100 from October to December on average.  In down years, such as 2008, the industry added just 1,800 jobs.  While in good times, such as 2007, the industry added 7,300.

“Last year, retail employers added just 3,400 jobs — pretty low by historical standards,” Anderson said. “Given improvement in the overall economy, we expect this year’s hiring level to be modestly higher than last year.”


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