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Nev. jobless rate rises to 12.1 percent in August
by Associated Press
Sep 21, 2012 | 2582 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CARSON CITY — Nevada's jobless rate crept up for the second month in a row to 12.1 percent in August, a sign Nevada's labor market has softened and job growth has eased, the state reported Friday.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate released by the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation was 0.1 percentage points higher than July, though considerably less than the rate of 13.8 percent in August 2011.

The number of unemployed Nevadans grew by 2,200 in the past month to 165,900.

"Taken as a whole, labor market barometers point to the tenuous nature of the current economic environment, both nationally and here in Nevada," said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the agency.

The national unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in August.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, who is on a trade mission this week to China and South Korea, said he was disappointed in the numbers. Nevada has led the nation in unemployment since May 2010. A first term Republican, Sandoval said he remains encouraged by modest economic improvement over the past year. But he added it "is not enough to sustain our economy" and underscores the need to diversify Nevada's economic base.

In the Las Vegas area, unemployment was 12.3 percent in August, down from 12.9 percent a month earlier. Reno's jobless rate fell to 11.5 percent from 12 percent in July; Carson City dropped to 11.6 percent from 12.2 percent; and the Elko region fell to 6.1 percent from 6.7 percent.

While those rates fell, the numbers aren't directly comparable to the statewide rate because they're not seasonally adjusted. As a comparison, the statewide unadjusted rate for August was 12 percent, down 0.5 percentage points from July.

Anderson said total nonfarm payrolls in Nevada fell by 1,000 jobs in August, based in part on a monthly survey of Nevada businesses.

"In every month this summer, employment fell on a month-over-month basis, resulting in a summer decline of 3,600 jobs," Anderson's report said. Still, Nevada has 5,200 more jobs than it did a year ago, he said.

Friday's jobless report generated political retorts from Nevada politicians heading into the November election.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., locked in a tight race to retain his seat with Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., said the report points to a failure in Washington.

"The policies that have come out of Washington have not helped middle class families in our state," Heller said in a statement, adding it's "past time to go in a different direction."

Berkley took aim at Heller and the GOP presidential ticket of Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan, saying the jobless rate "should serve as a wake-up call" to Republicans "who continue to be focused on helping the big guys rather than middle-class job creation."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., faulted Senate and House Republicans for what he called "unconditional obstruction" and cited stalled efforts to pass a bill legalizing online gambling.

"This bill means jobs for Nevada," he said.

The Romney campaign said the report points to President Barack Obama's failed promises to "stop the bleeding of jobs."

"President Obama has changed his tune from 'yes we can' to 'no we can't,'" said Romney campaign spokesman Mason Harrison.

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