CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada’s unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent in November, reaching its lowest level in five years as employers added 9,500 jobs, state officials reported Friday.
Last month’s rate is down from 9.3 percent in October, a level of decline not seen since the same month last year, the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation said.
Jobless rates in the each of the state’s three major metropolitan areas also fell. In Clark County, the state’s population and tourism center, the jobless rate fell to 8.6 percent in November, down from 9.4 percent in October. Reno’s unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent from 8.8 percent; and Carson City’s rate dropped to 9.1 percent from 9.5 percent.
Statewide, Nevada’s jobless rate remains 2 percentage points above the national average and ties with Rhode Island as the highest in the nation. Nevada has had the highest unemployment rate in the U.S. since May 2010, except for one month in that time period.
During the recession, Nevada’s unemployment level peaked at 14 percent in October 2010.
Gov. Brian Sandoval said he’s encouraged by the November data, which shows the 35th consecutive month of improvement in employment.
“As we end 2013, Nevada expects to have added approximately 50,000 jobs since 2010,” Sandoval said in a statement.
Still, 123,000 Nevadans remain out of work. The state’s labor pool also has contracted by 10,000 in the past year.
State economist Bill Anderson said despite the job growth, Nevada’s long slog out of the downturn will continue.
“While the continued decline in the unemployment rate is good news,Nevada’s recovery is still slow compared to other states,” 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,” he said.
Anderson said jobs in the retail sector exceeded pre-recession peaks for the first time in November, rising to 143,400. Before that, retail jobs peaked in 2007 at 139,800 and fell to a low in 2010 of 127,200.
“If these levels hold, retail trade is in an expansionary phase sooner than anticipated,” Anderson said his detailed report.
There continues to be a problem of stagnant wages, the economist said.
“Although some areas of the labor market are bouncing back, real wages, which account for inflation, are not,” Anderson’s report said. Wages in the first six months of the year have grown 0.8 percent compared with the same period last year.
“However, inflation has grown at a rate of 1.5 percent, indicating that Nevada’s average weekly wages are not keeping up with inflation.”
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