Nevada’s jobless rate below 6 percent; Reno-Sparks at 5.3 percent |

Nevada’s jobless rate below 6 percent; Reno-Sparks at 5.3 percent

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada’s unemployment rate dipped to less than 6 percent in February for the first time in eight years.

The seasonally adjusted statewide rate was at 5.9 percent. The raw rate, which compares with the state’s metropolitan areas, was even lower — 5.7 percent.

“Similar to the statewide status, the metro areas all gained employment over the month,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

According to the February report, there are now just 80,600 looking for work in a labor force of 1,425,400 statewide.

The jobless rate in Reno-Sparks fell to just 5.3 percent in February. That translates to 12,200 looking for work in a pool of 230,500. That’s nearly a full percentage point down from January’s 6.2 percent rate.

Las Vegas saw a similar decrease in unemployment, falling a full percent from 6.5 percent to 5.6 percent over the course of the month.

In addition, for the first time in years, all of Nevada’s 17 counties reported jobless rates below 9 percent.

Churchill County reported just 5.8 percent of the 10,615 member labor force out of work — about 616 people. That’s significantly lower than the county’s 7.1 percent jobless rate in January.

Douglas County was at 5.7 percent, down almost a percent from the 6.6 percent reported in January. That translates to 1,319 jobless out of 23,071 workers.

Carson City continued to struggle, however, reporting a rate of 6.7 percent for the month. But that’s still significantly lower than the 8.2 percent rate in the capital in February 2015 and the 7.7 percent reported for January.

Carson City benefited from the hiring of about 300 workers by state government, the capital’s largest employer, during the course of a month. Local government also added a few workers to its roster. Carson had 1,648 people seeking work in a pool of 24,778.

In Lyon County, one of the hardest hit counties during the recession, the rate was 8.3 percent in February, down 1.2 percent from January. Mineral County, the last to get under the 9 percent mark, recorded 8.6 percent unemployed compared with 9.4 percent in January.

The majority of Nevada’s mining counties — Elko, Esmeralda, Eureka and White Pine — were all below 5 percent for the month.

Statewide, the construction industry — hardest hit by the recession — continued to lead in terms of job growth. Those categories are up more than 8 percent compared to the first two months of last year, adding some 5,400 jobs.

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