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Jobless rate drops statewide
by Tribune Staff
Dec 20, 2011 | 496 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CARSON CITY — The jobless rate in Reno-Sparks fell to 11.6 percent in November from 12.1 percent in October while the Silver State’s overall unemployment rate also fell last month for the first time since May to a seasonally adjusted 13 percent. The rate is down nearly two percentage points from the same time last year, pushing the estimate of jobless Nevadans down to 171,800 from 198,200.   

“This month’s unemployment number, while still unacceptably high, shows that we are starting to see steady increases in hiring,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement. “In addition to a trend of adding jobs on a consistent basis, we are beginning to see increased signs of growth. While the recovery remains fragile, it appears economic growth will come at a modest and steady pace.”

Nevada’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped a half percent to 12.2 percent in November. Similar changes occurred in the state’s regional economies. In Las Vegas, the unemployment rate fell to 12.5 percent in November from 13.1 percent in October. In Carson City, the unemployment rate fell to 11.7 percent from 12 percent.

“Nevada’s economy continued on a path of stabilization in November, while showing modest improvement overall,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). “Employment grew for the fifth consecutive month, adding 1,300 jobs in November based on a seasonally adjusted basis. In all, employers have added 7,800 jobs since June.”

Employment in retail trade rose by 3,300 in November, with much of the increase occurring in general merchandise and clothing accessories stores.

Meanwhile, construction employment added 1,000 jobs last month. Employment in the industry is essentially the same as last year. 

Government employment changed little, with federal government dropping 200 jobs, local government adding 300 jobs, and state government flat.

Key economic indicators from the state’s tourism and retail industries have been running positive for some time. For instance, DETR reports that gaming wins grew by 8.1 percent in September and are up 2.5 percent so far this year, while taxable sales have grown 15 straight months and are up 10.4 percent on an annual basis.

Finally, DETR reports that Las Vegas visitor volume will likely reach pre-recession levels this year. 

On the heels of the latest unemployment numbers comes a final push by Democrats and Republicans to extend unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut for about 160 million American workers prior to Congress recessing for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

“While I’m encouraged that Nevada’s unemployment rate has slightly decreased, far too many workers in our state remain out of work and struggling to put food on the table,” Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said in a statement. “We must continue our focus on creating jobs and getting our economy growing again. The last thing Nevadans need is a thousand-dollar tax hike beginning Jan. 1, which is why House Republicans should support the bipartisan compromise that overwhelmingly passed the Senate two days ago. It’s long past time for Republicans to put politics aside to help middle-class Nevadans get back on their feet.”

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada) issued a statement Monday in response to news that the House of Representatives plans to hold up the payroll tax extension, unemployment insurance extension and Medicare provider reimbursement, setting himself apart from other Republicans.

“There is no question we need to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance for the entire year,” Heller said. “The American people deserve long-term, forward-thinking policies. However, there is no reason to hold up the short-term extension while a more comprehensive deal is being worked out. What is playing out in Washington this week is about political leverage, not about what’s good for the American people. Congress can work out a solution without stopping the payroll tax cut extension for the middle class, jeopardizing seniors’ access to health care or threatening unemployment insurance.”

Heller voted last week in favor of a Senate proposal to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance. He also introduced a bill to extend the payroll tax cut for one year without raising taxes on small businesses.
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