However, unemployment fell in the Silver State’s three largest metropolitan areas.
In the Reno-Sparks area, the unemployment rate fell to 12.1 percent last month from 12.6 percent in September. falling to 12.1 percent. In Las Vegas, the unemployment rate also declined by one-half percentage point last month, falling to 13.1 percent from 13.6 percent. In Carson City, the unemployment rate fell four-tenths, falling to 12 percent in October from 12.4 percent in September.
“This month’s unemployment numbers demonstrate growth in key industries and certain areas, and the overall stability is a sign that job losses may have come to an end,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement. “The numbers prove that we must continue our efforts to fight back from this recession job by job and company by company. There is a role for each one of us to help get Nevada working again.”
The employment sector adding the largest number of jobs was the leisure and hospitality industry, which grew by 3,200, including adding 200 jobs in the Reno-Sparks area.
The education and health services sector continues to shine with the addition of 1,400 jobs in October, including 300 locally.
Lastly, the trade, transportation and utilities sector added 1,400 positions in October, including 300 locally, most of them in retail and transportation and warehousing.
“Nevada’s employment and unemployment picture continued to show signs of economic stability with some modest improvement in October,” Bill Anderson, chief economist for DETR, said in a statement. “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 ago.”
Employers are beginning to bolster staffing in anticipation of the holiday shopping season, DETR officials said.
In recent years, the recession negatively affected typical hiring trends. Over the last 10 years, Nevada’s retail sector employment grew, on average, by 5,100 from October to December.
In down years, such as 2008, the industry added just 1,800 jobs.
“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.”
DETR officials have been hesitant to make predictions about job growth and economic recovery, largely because unemployment has fluctuated so much in the last year and a half. But with the jobless rate continuing to fall in Nevada, officials are optimistic that 2012 holds more promise for job seekers.
“For the coming year, Nevada can expect employment to see modest growth,” Anderson said. “We can reasonably predict the unemployment rate to experience moderate fluctuations and even make some improvement. As it stands, we do expect 2012 to be better for Nevada’s economy than 2011.”