Posts Tagged ‘Bill Anderson’

Nevada’s Jobless Rate Declines To 11.8 Percent In September

By Sean Whaley | 11:45 am October 19th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s unemployment rate fell to 11.8 percent in September, a decline of three-tenths of a percentage point from the 12.1 percent rate reported for August and a significant improvement from September 2011’s reading of 13.6 percent, a state agency reported today.

The seasonally-adjusted rate remains above the 11.6 percent figure reported in May, which was a three-year low.

September’s household survey showed more Nevadans are working, partly contributing to the decline in the rate of unemployment, said Bill Anderson, chief economist for Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). The 11.8 percent rate equates to a seasonally adjusted 161,600 individuals still unemployed, he said.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for the state Research and Analysis Bureau.

The number of Nevadans out of work fell by 4,300 in September, which is partly due to some falling out of the workforce, as well as people obtaining employment.

“Nevada’s economy and our labor markets are on the mend,” Anderson said. “We’re moving forward at a modest pace. It’s best not to get too worried about what happened in July when the rate jumped a few tenths of a point. And I’d also suggest not to get too excited about the decline in the rate from August to September. You average it all together and we’re slowly on the mend.”

Unfortunately there are lagging sectors in the private employment picture, most notably in construction, which are holding back the state’s overall numbers, he said.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said he is encouraged by September’s job growth and the slight decrease in the jobless rate.

“I am also pleased that export activity is up one-third over last year and that Nevada is taking an increased role in the world’s economy,” he said. “This news further validates our efforts to reach out to foreign countries, which we will continue to do.”

Sandoval led a trade mission to the People’s Republic of China and South Korea in September.

Amongst the state’s three largest population centers, the Las Vegas metro area is home to the highest unemployment rate in the state, at 11.5 percent, which is not seasonally adjusted and so not comparable to the statewide adjusted rate. This is down from 12.3 percent in August and, more importantly, from the 14 percent reported a year ago.

In Reno/Sparks the rate fell 0.7 of a point, to 10.8 percent. A year ago, the region’s jobless rate stood at 12.9 percent. Carson City is home to a 10.9 percent rate, down from 11.5 percent in August and 12.8 percent last year.

“The news is encouraging, as a year ago, there were an estimated 188,300 Nevadans counted as unemployed,” Anderson said. “Monthly measures are subject to wide swings, and it is perhaps best not to put too much weight behind that volatility; however, when evaluated as a whole, the economy is slowly moving in a positive direction.”

Typically during the month, about 7,500 jobs (not seasonally adjusted) are added in the state, the majority of them in the public sector coinciding with the start of a new academic year. This year, however, 14,600 jobs were added, resulting in a seasonally adjusted gain of 7,100. Through the first three quarters of the year, private sector jobs are up by more than 12,000 compared to the same period last year.

Additionally, more jobs are expected to be added during the holiday season, making modest gains over last year, Anderson said. From September to December 2011, Nevada added 4,100 jobs, however prior to the recession, seasonal job gains approached 9,000 during the holiday hiring period.

The good news on the jobless front is expected to continue, he said, after the agency reported Thursday that initial claims for unemployment insurance fell in September to their lowest level in five years, dropping to under 14,000 in a month for the first time since September 2007.

Initial jobless claims are a leading indicator and suggest improvement going forward in the near term, Anderson said.

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Audio clips:

DETER Chief Economist Bill Anderson says Nevada’s economy and its labor markets are on the mend:

101912Anderson1 :26 on the mend.”

Anderson says the low rate of initial jobless claims in September suggests Nevada’s unemployment rate should continue to improve over the near term:

101912Anderson2 :12 the near term.”

 

September Unemployment Claims Reach Five-Year Low

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 11:26 am October 18th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell in September to their lowest level in five years, dropping to under 14,000 in a month for the first time since September 2007, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) reported today.

Initial claims represent the first step in filing for unemployment benefits, and with 13,932 initial claims filed – the lowest since before the 2007 recession began – Nevada continues to show steady progress toward economic recovery, the agency reported. This compares to 16,693 claims filed in September 2011.

Since the beginning of the recession, initial claims peaked at 36,414 in December 2008, and the previous low point for initial claims was 15,500 in May 2008.

“While the news is encouraging, September typically represents a low point in initial claims each year, so this one month is not enough by itself to establish a new trend,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist for DETR. “As Nevada has been recovering from the 2007 recession, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits has been steadily falling when compared to the prior year, registering a decline in 33 of the past 34 months.”

After the rate of job loss peaked in late 2008 and early 2009, initial claims initially fell sharply by an average of nearly 20 percent in 2010. Since then, the pace has slowed to an average of 8.2 percent through eight months in 2012. However in recent months, the rate at which initial claims are declining has begun to increase, falling at a rate of 9.7 percent over the past five months, after falling at just 6.5 percent over the first four months of the year.

Because initial claims are related to people entering unemployment, they can be considered a leading indicator of changes in overall employment levels.

“Particularly, this tells us that the number of people losing their jobs continues to fall, an important step to establishing steady growth in employment overall,” Anderson said. “At the same time, the rate of claims and, by extension, job loss remains elevated and the pace of employment growth is likely to remain slower than what Nevada was accustomed to prior to the recession.”

Nevada Jobless Rate Ticks Up To 12.1 Percent In August

By Sean Whaley | 10:57 am September 21st, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s unemployment rate ticked up one-tenth of a percentage point to 12.1 percent in August from July, the second month of increases in the jobless rate after hitting a three-year low in May, a state agency reported today.

The increase in the seasonally adjusted rate, coming after a jump of four-tenths of a percentage point in July, continues to make Nevada the state with the highest unemployment rate in the nation.

The rate is still well below the 13.8 percent jobless rate reported in August of 2011, the report from the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) shows.

The Las Vegas area had an unadjusted jobless rate of 12.3 percent in August, while Reno-Sparks saw a 11.5 percent rate and Carson City stood at 11.6 percent.

Nevada’s economy is front and central in the presidential race, and will be a topic of comments in Mitt Romney’s visit to Las Vegas today. Both Romney and President Obama have made several trips to Nevada over the past few months. The frequent visits highlight Nevada’s importance as a battleground state in the race.

DETR Chief Economist Bill Anderson, in commenting on today’s August report, said that Nevada is mirroring the nation with its labor market having softened in recent months.

“Job growth has eased, and the unemployment rate has ticked up,” he said. “Still, year-over-year improvement is evident. Taken as a whole, labor market barometers point to the tenuous nature of the current economic environment, both nationally and here in Nevada.”

Based, at least in part, upon the results of a monthly survey of Nevada businesses, total nonfarm payrolls fell by 1,000 jobs in August, Anderson said. In every month this summer, employment fell on a month-over-month basis, resulting in a summer decline of 3,600 jobs. (The June to July change in non-farm payroll jobs was revised from a gain of 2,100 to a loss of 1,100.)

“As a result of falling job levels throughout the summer, Nevada’s over-the-year employment comparison appears less impressive,” he said. “Nonetheless, Nevada still has 5,200 more jobs than in August of last year, with a gain of 6,500 in the private sector partially offset by public sector losses.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval, who has made economic development and job creation a centerpiece of his administration and who is currently on a trade mission to the People’s Republic of China and South Korea, said: “While I am disappointed that Nevada experienced another slight uptick in the unemployment rate, I am encouraged by the fact that we continue to see signs of modest economic improvement, measured on a year-over-year basis, in these numbers.”

Sandoval acknowledged, however, that the slight improvement is not enough to sustain Nevada’s economy, “which is why we must continue to work to diversify our state’s economy and bring jobs to Nevada.”

As has been the case, throughout the 2012 election season, the candidates have weighed in on the latest jobless numbers.

Mason Harrison, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, said: “Today, we received more bad news from the Obama economy – more and more Nevadans are finding themselves unemployed. Nevada has seen unemployment continue to rise, despite President Obama’s promises to stop the bleeding of jobs.

“Mitt Romney will succeed where President Obama has failed by implementing a 5-point plan that will strengthen the middle class and create 12 million jobs across our country in his first term alone,” he said.

But U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in a statement, said: “Today’s numbers highlight the critical importance of creating jobs. The best way to do that is to strengthen Nevada’s middle class and our small business community.

“I have been working with my Democratic colleagues to provide tax relief to middle class families, and to help small business owners expand and create jobs for hard working Nevadans. However, these commonsense measures have been met with unconditional obstruction by Senate and House Republicans, regardless of their potential to spur economic growth.”

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Audio clips:

DETR Chief Economist Bill Anderson says the national softening of the jobs market is affecting Nevada:

092112Anderson1 :16 the Nevada numbers.”

Anderson says Nevada’s rate of improvement is diminishing:

092112Anderson2 :30 of improvement diminish.”

Broader Measure Of Unemployment Shows Continued Improvement In Nevada But Still Above 20 Percent

By Sean Whaley | 12:28 pm July 27th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A broader measure of Nevada’s unemployment picture, including those who have given up looking for work, showed slight but continued improvement through the second quarter of 2012, a federal report released today shows.

Called the U-6 rate, it declined in Nevada from 22.3 percent in the four quarters through March 31 to 22.1 percent in the 12 months ending June 30, according to the quarterly report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Photo by FEMA via Wikimedia Commons.

Nationally, the U-6 unemployment rate is 15.3 percent, down from 15.6 percent through the first quarter of 2012. The only other state above 20 percent is California, with a rate of 20.3 percent. North Dakota has the lowest rate at 6.1 percent.

The U-6 rate is sometimes referred to as the “actual” jobless rate because it includes discouraged workers and those working part-time who would like to be in full-time jobs.

Nevada’s U-6 rate compares to the June seasonally adjusted rate of 11.6 percent, which held steady from May. The June rate, considered to be the official unemployment rate, was reported last week by the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).

Nevada leads the nation in both measures of unemployment.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for DETR, said the good news for Nevada is that the unemployment rate is showing some “very modest” improvement.

“I think over time we will see the unemployment rate edge down,” he said. “There is going to be some good months, some bad months, but overall the trend is slightly downward.

“The same for the employment side of the equation, the more important employment side of the equation,” Anderson said. “Some good months, some bad months, but overall I think the positives will outweigh the negatives. But it is only going to translate into modest job growth.”

Prior to the recession Nevada was adding 60,000 jobs a year and the state was growing at four times the national labor market, he said. The current trend is about 15,000 jobs a year, Anderson said.

The official June jobless report noted that for the first half of the year, 14,000 jobs have been added in Nevada’s private sector establishments. This is on top of approximately 12,000 new jobs in 2011.

Gov. Brian Sandoval has made job creation a priority of his administration, and is pushing forward with an economic development plan to help create 50,000 new jobs in Nevada by the end of 2014.

In commenting last week on the June report, Sandoval said: “I am encouraged by the fact that this is the 12th straight month of positive news, but we must continue working to support job growth by bringing new business to Nevada and allowing existing businesses to be successful.”

Nevada’s official jobless rate peaked at 14 percent in October 2010. The U-6 rate in Nevada for the 12 months of 2010 was 23.6 percent.

Anderson said: “We’ve got a long way to go until we get to the 4 percent rate that we were at essentially prior to the last recession. But nonetheless the news of late has been better than it was a year or two ago.”

The Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for States shows six different jobless rates using different measures. The U-6 rate includes discouraged workers, defined as people who want work but who had not searched for work in the previous four weeks because they believed no jobs were available to them. It also includes “marginally attached” workers, defined as those who had not looked for work in the previous four weeks for any reason.

Finally the measure includes those employed part-time for economic reasons, defined as those working less than 35 hours per week who want to work full time, are available to do so, and gave an economic reason – their hours had been cut back or they were unable to find a full-time job – for working part time. These individuals are sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that this broader definition of unemployment is based on relatively small sample sizes at the state level.

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Audio clips:

Bill Anderson, chief economist for DETR, says the trend for unemployment in Nevada is modest improvement:

072712Anderson1 :25 is slightly downward.”

Anderson says the same is expected for job growth in Nevada:

072712Anderson3 :21 modest job growth.”

 

Nevada Unemployment Falls To 11.6 Percent In May, Lowest In Three Years

By Sean Whaley | 10:13 am June 15th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s unemployment rate fell to 11.6 percent in May, the lowest it has been in three years, the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) reported today.

The drop of one-tenth of a percentage point in the seasonally adjusted rate from April is the ninth consecutive month that the rate has shown improvement, said DETR Chief Economist Bill Anderson.

Construction workers. / Paul Keheler via Wikimedia Commons.

While an improvement, Anderson again noted in the May report that part of the drop is due to people giving up looking for work.

“Nevada is experiencing some welcomed improvement in the jobless outlook, but it’s important to note that the decline is partly due to the diminishing labor force,” he said. “Fewer people are looking for work as they continue to find it difficult to obtain employment in the current market. Nevertheless, trends do indicate that Nevada’s labor market is slowly rebounding.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval acknowledged that Nevada’s unemployment rate remains significantly high, with 158,300 Nevadans who are currently unemployed, but said he is optimistic about improvement in the job market.

“I am encouraged by this month’s jobs report,” Sandoval said. “With another month of positive news, we are beginning to see several sectors of our economy grow. While these are strong signs, we must continue to help our economy strengthen by cultivating new businesses and expanding those already here.”

While not directly comparable to the state’s seasonally adjusted figure, the unemployment rate in each of the state’s three metropolitan areas held relatively steady, in May, Anderson said. Las Vegas has the highest jobless rate amongst the state’s three population centers, at 11.8 percent, with Carson City’s rate slightly lower at 11.7 and Reno at 11.5 percent.

Seven counties, all of them rural, have single-digit unemployment rates on a year-to-date basis, with the lowest rates in Lander, Eureka, and Esmeralda. Lyon (16.3 percent so far this year) and Nye (14.9 percent) have the highest jobless rates.

Statewide April job estimates have been revised upward by 700, and a seasonally adjusted 5,900 jobs were added to payrolls in May, the second-strongest month-to-month gain this year. At a seasonally adjusted 1.14 million, job readings stand at their second-highest level in nearly three years and are up 12,700 from a year ago, Anderson said.

Nearly all industries in Nevada reported positive results in May, but year-to-date results helps to shed light on underlying trends, Anderson said. Through the first five months of 2012, nonfarm job levels in Nevada stand 9,000 higher than a year ago.

As for some of the state’s major industries, leisure/hospitality has added 10,000 payroll jobs so far this year. Recent trends in the trade/transportation/utilities industries have been fairly strong, leaving job levels in the first five months of the year up by 2,300 compared to 2011.

Professional/business services establishments have added 1,800 jobs over the same period.  Mining-related jobs have averaged 15,500 so far this year, up by 2,300 (or 17.4 percent) from 2011. Strong underlying fundamentals in this industry have certainly contributed to the relatively low unemployment rates in several of the state’s rural counties.

DETR Director Frank R. Woodbeck said that with the unemployment rate improving, the agency will continue to support Sandoval’s efforts to attract new businesses and build a workforce to support the state’s improving economy.

“We are working diligently to further develop Nevada’s workforce system through strengthened partnerships with the business community and greater alignment with higher education, Woodbeck said. “We are exploring every opportunity to continue preparing individuals for careers that will be in higher demand as employers gain confidence to add more jobs and see the benefits of locating operations in Nevada.”

The slowing improving jobs market in Nevada comes as the state is preparing to pay more than $22 million at the end of the month to the federal government as an interest payment on money borrowed to pay unemployment claims. The state has borrowed nearly $700 million from the federal government to date to pay benefits.

Another interest payment of $40 million, which is coming out of the state’s general fund, will be due next fiscal year. The borrowing was made necessary because the unemployment tax rate charged to Nevada’s employers has been inadequate to cover unemployment benefits.

The loan is not expected to be paid off until 2018.

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Audio clips:

DETR Chief Economist Bill Anderson says the May report is fairly encouraging:

061512Anderson1 :20 ninth straight month.”

Anderson says the rate of improvement in the labor markets will continue to be modest, however:

061512Anderson2 :26 be relatively modest.”

 

Nevada Jobless Rate Drops Below 12 Percent In April For First Time In Nearly Three Years

By Sean Whaley | 10:21 am May 18th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s jobless rate dropped below 12 percent for the first time in nearly three years in April, a state agency reported today. The statewide seasonally adjusted rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point to 11.7 percent.

It was the eight consecutive month of declines, and brings the state jobless rate down from a peak of 14 percent reached in October 2010. The number of unemployed Nevadans has fallen from 193,600 to 158,600 over the period, the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) reported.

“Nevada has recorded year-over-year private sector job gains every month since early 2011, a clear sign that we are slowly but steadily working our way toward a stronger economy,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval. “We will continue to push for job growth in our economy, especially in key economic sectors to ensure the unemployment rate continues to decline.”

New job growth in Nevada is being driven by the private sector, which has added employment in every month since January 2011. So far this year, private sector job levels are trending about 13,800 higher than a year ago. That is on top of approximately 12,000 new jobs added in 2011. Those improvements are being partially offset by declines in the public sector, which has lost 6,400 jobs since January 2011.

Mining employment hit 16,000 jobs in April, setting a new peak dating back more than 20 years.

Courtesy of Barrick Mining Corp.

The unemployment rate in each of the state’s three metropolitan areas fell below 12 percent and reached levels not seen in nearly three years. In the Las Vegas region, the unemployment rate fell to 11.6 percent in April, down from 12 percent in March. The unemployment rate in the Reno-Sparks area fell by six-tenths to 11.4 percent in April.

In the capital region, the unemployment rate fell six-tenths to 11.8 percent in April, down from 12.4 percent in March. In the Elko micropolitan area (Elko and Eureka counties), the unemployment rate declined three-tenths to 6.3 percent. The rate is 5.2 percentage points lower than the statewide average and 1.4 points lower than the national average of 7.7 percent.

The local rates are not seasonally adjusted.

“Much has been made of late about the underlying reasons behind the downtrend in the unemployment rate,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist for DETR. “While job growth has been positive of late, contributing to the drop in the jobless rate, there are some structural forces at play, as well. Specifically, the labor force participation rate (LFPR) has been trending down both at the state and national level for many years.”

At the beginning of the recession, about 66 percent of the U.S. population was in the labor force (either employed or unemployed). As of April, the LFPR was just 63.6 percent, suggesting individuals (presumably without a job) are dropping out of the labor force and are not counted amongst the unemployed.

In Nevada, the labor force participation rate has been trending down since the early 1980’s, after reaching a peak of 73.7 percent. The current LFPR stands at 64.9 percent, down from 67.8 since the start of the recession. While recent declines in the LFPR can be attributed to a poor job market, longer term trends point to changes in the structure of the economy and demographics of the population.

Results were mixed for Nevada’s major industry sectors. Mining employment rose by 100 in April and set a new series peak dating back to 1990. The trade, transportation and utilities sector added 2,900 jobs, with a strong showing from retail trade (+1,600), transportation/warehousing/utilities (+1,100); and an increase of 200 jobs in wholesale trade.

“On the down side, a number of industries shed employment in April,” Anderson said. “Construction (-900) continued to trend down, setting a new post-boom low.”

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Audio clips:

DETR economist Bill Anderson says the April report shows stable and steady improvement:

051812Anderson1 :23 a year ago.”

Anderson says mining activity has led to low jobless rates in much of rural Nevada:

051812Anderson2 :27 of the state.”

 

 

 

Nevada Wages Showing Signs Of Improvement

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 3:32 pm May 4th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The amount employees earn per week showed signs of improvement in 2011, further indicating Nevada’s economy is in on the mend, said Bill Anderson, chief economist for Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).

Wages in Nevada averaged $829 per week in 2011, which represents a gain of 1.3 percent compared to 2010′s $818 average weekly wage. Gains in each of the first three quarters of the year were only partially offset by some sluggishness in the final months of the year.

Image by Paul Robinson via Wikimedia Commons.

Average weekly wages declined in both 2009 and 2010 before reversing course last year. Specifically, beginning in late-2008, wages declined relative to a year ago in five of seven quarters. An uptrend began in mid-2010. Wages rose for five straight quarters, before declining in the October to December 2011 period.

“As is the case for other labor market barometers, while recent wage trends have been encouraging, room for improvement remains,” Anderson said. “With consumer prices rising 3.2 percent in 2011, wage growth is not keeping pace in ‘real’ terms. However, recent wage trends have been consistent with other measures pointing to moderate improvement in the state’s labor market.

“Unemployment is trending down,” he said. “Job growth is slightly positive. Initial claims for unemployment insurance have been on the decline. By all accounts, Nevada’s economy is on a slow, yet steady pace to recovery.”

 

Broader Measure Of Unemployment In Nevada Shows Slight Improvement In First Quarter Of 2012

By Sean Whaley | 2:15 pm April 27th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A broader measure of Nevada’s unemployment picture, including those who have given up looking for work, showed slight but continued improvement through the first quarter of 2012, a federal report released today shows.

The rate in Nevada dropped from 22.7 percent in the four quarters through Dec. 31, 2011, to 22.3 percent through March 31, according to the quarterly report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The “U-6” rate is sometimes referred to as the “actual” jobless rate because it includes discouraged workers and those working part-time who would like to be in full-time jobs. It compares to the official 12 percent unemployment rate for Nevada for March reported last week by the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).

Nevada leads the nation in both measures of unemployment.

Photo by FEMA via Wikimedia Commons.

Nationally, the U-6 unemployment rate is 15.6 percent. The only other state with a rate above 20 percent is California, with a rate of 20.8 percent. North Dakota has the lowest rate at 6.3 percent.

The Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for States shows six different jobless rates using different measures. The U-6 rate includes discouraged workers, defined as people who want work but who had not searched for work in the previous four weeks because they believed no jobs were available to them. It also includes “marginally attached” workers, defined as those who had not looked for work in the previous four weeks for any reason.

Finally the measure includes those employed part-time for economic reasons, defined as those working less than 35 hours per week who want to work full time, are available to do so, and gave an economic reason – their hours had been cut back or they were unable to find a full-time job – for working part time. These individuals are sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that this broader definition of unemployment is based on relatively small sample sizes at the state level.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for DETR, said there has been gradual improvement in both the official rate and the broader measure of unemployment although the state still has a long ways to go. The official jobless rate has fallen for seven straight months. The U-6 measure has declined in each of the last two quarters, he said.

“They have been on the mend, albeit relatively slowly,” Anderson said.

But Nevada’s unemployment rate remains a concern for policymakers, even as other economic indicators are showing improvement.

The state Department of Taxation reported yesterday that taxable sales surged in February by 10.2 percent over February 2011. The state Gaming Control Board reported strong wins for casinos in both January and February.

Anderson said personal income has been up for seven straight quarters as well.

“The one area where we don’t seem to be gaining a whole lot of traction of yet is in our labor markets,” he said. “We’re seeing some improvement but it’s been relatively slow going.”

The reasons are due largely to the lagging construction and public employee job sectors, Anderson said. The construction industry has lost about 100,000 jobs compared to the peak prior to the recession, and budget difficulties have led to declines in government employment, he said.

The public sector job losses are particularly noticeable at the local government level. The March jobless report shows there were 4,400 few local government jobs in March 2012 compared to March 2011. State government jobs were down 1,300 over the same period.

Gov. Brian Sandoval has made job creation a priority of his administration, and is pushing forward with an economic development plan to help create 50,000 new jobs in Nevada by the end of 2014.

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Audio clips:

DETR economist Bill Anderson says Nevada’s jobless numbers are improving but it is slow going:

042712Anderson1 :35 the past year.”

Anderson says job creation is lagging behind other improving economic indicators:

042712Anderson2 :14 relatively slow going.”

Nevada’s Unemployment Rate Falls To 12.7 Percent In January But Jobs Picture Remains Mixed

By Sean Whaley | 12:28 pm March 12th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s jobless rate fell from a revised 13 percent in December to 12.7 percent in January, down from 13.8 percent a year ago and a peak of 14 percent in October 2010. The number of unemployed Nevadans remained relatively flat at 174,700, but is down 16,300 from the same month last year.

“Nevada continues to show signs of economic recovery, with slow but steady growth in many important areas” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in commenting on the report released by the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). “I continue to be encouraged by the job creation in key sectors as we work to meet the challenge of creating 50,000 jobs by the end of 2014.”

The improvement in January is based on a revised unemployment rate of 13 percent in December. The rate was initially reported as 12.6 percent when the December rate was announced in January. The rate is seasonally adjusted.

The construction industry remains sluggish in Nevada. / Photo from the National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons.

The report shows that changes in the unemployment rates in the state’s urban areas were mixed in January. In Las Vegas, the unemployment rate declined from 13.3 percent in December to 13.1 percent. Over-the-year, the rate is down by 1.3 percentage points.

In the state’s northern metro areas, the unemployment rate increased by six-tenths to 13 percent in the Reno-Sparks area and by seven-tenths to 13.5 percent in Carson City. Reno’s unemployment rate is down by 1.2 percentage points from the previous year and Carson City’s is down by one percentage point. The unemployment rate in the Elko area increased from 6.4 percent to 7.3 in January and is down three-tenths from the previous year.

“Employers added a seasonally adjusted 1,800 payroll jobs,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist for DETR. “It marks the 12th time in the past 13 months that employment has grown on a year-over-year basis. Nevada’s labor markets continued on a path of moderate improvement in January, but Nevada’s unemployment rate is 4.4 percentage points higher than the nation’s 8.3 percent.”

A broader measure of unemployment, which includes partially unemployed and discouraged workers, declined to 22.7 percent on average in 2011, down six-tenths of a percentage point from its previous reading.

“With the addition of 1,800 jobs in January, employment levels are up by 9,000 compared to a year ago, a 0.8 percent increase,” Anderson said. “Private sector employment continues to lead the way. Non-government employers added over 2,000 jobs in January, with the largest employment gains occurring in construction (+1,400), professional and business services (+1,000), and leisure and hospitality (+400).

“Although construction gained employment in January, year-over-year employment has been consistently negative for the past 63 months, or since November 2006,” he said. “On an over the year basis, construction is down 4,800 jobs or 8.1 percent.”

Anderson said many of Nevada’s important economic indicators continue to move into positive territory, hitting levels not seen since the start of the recession in December 2007.

He noted that taxable sales are up seven percent, marking its largest gain since 2005. Gaming win is up 3.7 percent, for its best showing since 2006. Las Vegas visitor volume is up 4.3 percent for all of 2011, marking its strongest gain in seven years.

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Audio clips:

Bill Anderson with DETR says Nevada’s economic indicators are improving:

031212Anderson1 :31 trend right now.”

Anderson says signs of modest improvement began in late 2011:

031212Anderson2 :24 the jobless rate.”

 

 

 

Nevada’s Jobless Rate Drops To 12.6 Percent In December, But Smaller Workforce Partly Responsible

By Sean Whaley | 12:20 pm January 23rd, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s unemployment rate fell by four-tenths of a percentage point to 12.6 percent in December, the second consecutive monthly decline that saw the number of jobless drop to 166,300, a state agency reported today.

A year ago, the rate, which is adjusted for seasonal fluctuations in the labor market, hit a record high of 14.9 percent.

“I am encouraged by the overall report of this month’s unemployment figures, with job growth slowly but surely returning to Nevada’s economy,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval. “This year, as we help businesses expand and recruit new businesses to Nevada, we will continue our focus on getting Nevada working again.”

Construction workers. / Courtesy of flickr Paul Keheler via Wikimedia Commons.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), said the drop in the jobless rate was the result of “continued modest employment growth, combined with (a) relatively stable labor force.”

However, the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate increased slightly in each of Nevada’s sub-state areas.  In Las Vegas, the unemployment rate increased from 12.4 percent in November to 12.7 percent in December.

The unemployment rate in the Reno-Sparks area increased three-tenths of a percentage point to 11.9 percent in December.

In Carson City, the jobless rate climbed to 12.2 percent in December from 11.9 percent in November.

The unemployment rate in the Elko micropolitan area (includes Elko and Eureka counties) increased just one-tenth to 6.7 percent.

Based upon preliminary information, the unemployment situation improved in 2011 compared to the previous year. Statewide, the jobless rate averaged 13.1 percent in 2011, down nearly two full percentage points from the 2010 average of 14.9 percent.

In Las Vegas, the unemployment rate declined nearly two percentage points  – down from 15.2 percent in 2010 to 13.3 percent in 2011. Reno and Carson City experienced identical changes from 2010 to 2011, where the unemployment rate fell from 14.1 percent in 2010 to 12.5 percent in 2011. The jobless rate in the Elko area contracted by 1.2 percentage points, falling from 8.4 percent in 2010 to 7.2 percent in 2011. This was driven by record-high gold prices.

“Indeed, there are fewer unemployed workers,” Anderson said. “Unfortunately, the decline in these rates in 2011 is not entirely due to an improving economy. A declining labor force also contributed to the drop in unemployment.

“As unemployed workers give up their job search or move beyond Nevada’s borders, the labor force declines and unemployment falls,” he said. “This was the case in 2011, especially during the first half of the year. During the year’s final months, we saw some signs of stability in the labor force numbers.”

On the jobs front, December employment readings came in 3,500 higher than a year ago, the fourth consecutive gain. For the entire year, Nevada added about 2,100 jobs (preliminary estimate), the first such gain since 2007.

“Many jobs were created during the economic boom of the mid-2000s, though a good many were artificially created by the housing bubble,” Anderson said. “With the bubble now deflated, a large number of workers are now left in the precarious position of seeking work elsewhere or retraining for new industries.”

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Audio clips:

DETER economist Bill Anderson says the December jobs report overall is positive:

012312Anderson1 :22 50,000 to 60,000.”

Anderson says because the recession hit Nevada so hard, there is still a long ways to go to a full recovery:

012112Anderson2 :08 way to go.”

 

Nevada’s Jobless Rate Falls To 13 Percent In November, First Drop Since May

By Sean Whaley | 4:31 pm December 19th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s unemployment rate fell in November for the first time since May, to a seasonally-adjusted 13 percent, a state agency reported today. 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.

The rate dropped four-tenths of a percentage point from October’s 13.4 percent rate.

“This month’s unemployment number, while still unacceptably high, shows that we are starting to see steady increases in hiring,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval. “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.”

Photo courtesy of Jay from Cudahy via Flickr.

In Las Vegas, the unemployment rate fell to 12.5 percent in November from 13.1 percent in October. The jobless rate dropped in the Reno-Sparks area, falling from 12.1 percent in October to 11.6 percent in November. In Carson City, the unemployment rate fell to 11.7 percent from 12 percent in October.

The unemployment rate in the Elko area fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.6 percent.  Elko’s unemployment rate is two percentage points below the national average and more than five percentage points lower than the statewide rate.

“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.”

The news is not all positive, however, he said.

A broader scan of workforce indicators suggests deeper structural weakness than the unemployment rate suggests, Anderson said. While the publicized unemployment rate (includes unemployed workers actively seeking employment) has fallen significantly in the last year, a broader measure of unemployment has not followed suit.

When you account for the discouraged (includes the unemployed who would like a job, but are not seeking employment) and the underemployed due to economic reasons, the unemployment rate is running at 23.3 percent based on a four quarter moving average.

“I’m certainly encouraged by the decline in the unemployment rate; I’m encouraged by some modest growth on the employment front; but I just think it’s important to qualify those positives by noting that we still have a long way to go,” Anderson said. “We have a big hole to dig out of.”

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Audio clips:

Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), says the November report is arguably the best in quite some time:

121911Anderson1 :21 to make up.”

Anderson says there is still a lot of ground to make up, however:

121911Anderson2 :19 dig out of.”

 

Jobless Rate Holds Steady, But Improving In Some Sectors

By Sean Whaley | 12:48 pm October 21st, 2011

CARSON CITY – The September jobs report released today contained some hints of economic life in recession-battered Nevada, even though the unemployment rate held steady at a double-digit 13.4 percent rate from August.

While still tops in the nation in unemployment, Nevada saw a decline in the jobless rate in the Las Vegas area, to 13.6 percent from 14.3 percent in August. The Reno-Sparks and Carson City areas also saw declines.

While Nevada’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate remained unchanged after three months of increases, it is well below the 14.9 percent rate reported in September 2010, according to the report released by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

Nevada also saw some job growth in September over August, adding 10,000 jobs, although most were seasonal. When seasonality is factored in, the state gained 1,800 jobs.

“This month, it appears the unemployment rate is stabilizing and that job growth is outpacing job losses,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said. “While this is a good sign for our economy, we must continue to look for ways to spur job creation and offer job retraining to Nevada’s workforce.”

Californians who lost jobs due to freeze. / Photo courtesy of FEMA.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said: “In months past I’ve talked about signs of stability and an economy that is essentially moving sideways. But now I think there are some definite signs of improvement, albeit modest improvement; I don’t want to overstate its significance.

“By far we’re not out of the woods yet,” he said. “Our job levels are still down by about 175,000 from where they were at the beginning of the recession. But we are starting to see some signs of pockets of improvement.”

Those pockets include the tourism industry, and they are starting to translate into new jobs in some employment sectors, Anderson said.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for the state Research and Analysis Bureau.

Nevada’s statewide rate is adjusted for seasonality. The local rates are not. The seasonal adjustment process takes into account normal and predictable fluctuations in labor market activity due to such reoccurring factors as changes in the weather, the beginning and end of the academic year and the timing of holidays in estimating the unemployment rate.

Employment is up in seven of the eleven major industry groups compared to the same month in 2010. It is significant improvement from two years ago when only one industry, education and health services registered employment growth.

In recent months, the construction industry has shown some signs of life. In September, the industry added employment for the fifth consecutive month. The addition of 1,600 new jobs pushed September’s employment estimate 200 jobs higher than the same month last year. It marks the first time in nearly five years that the construction industry posted an over-the-year increase.

While a positive sign overall, it is too early to tell if the shift marks a turning point in the industry’s fortunes. Expectations for a strong turnaround are generally low given continued trouble in housing and commercial development, but it is a positive development none the less, the report says.

Other sectors adding jobs include the professional and business services industry, which added 1,300 jobs in September and is up 6,500 or 4.8 percent from the same month last year. Leisure and hospitality held steady at 321,200, but in the last year the industry added 11,300 jobs, a 3.6 percent increase.

The public sector saw some job growth from August due primarily to the start of the new school year, but in the past 12 months, state, local and federal government has collectively lost 5,100 jobs, a decline of 3.3 percent.

State government has lost 1,600 jobs compared to September 2010, and local government, including teachers, has lost 3,600 jobs. The federal government added 100 jobs over the year.

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Audio clips:

State economist Bill Anderson says the September jobs report shows some signs of improvement:

102111Anderson1 :17 overstate its significance.”

But Anderson says Nevada has a long way to go to recover from the job losses of the great recession:

102111Anderson2 :13 pockets of improvement.”

 

State Panel Recommends No Change In Unemployment Insurance Tax Rate

By Sean Whaley | 5:15 pm October 4th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Despite the need to borrow $773 million from the federal government to pay jobless benefits so far in the current economic downturn, an advisory panel today recommended that the average tax rate levied on Nevada employers to pay claims remain unchanged at 2 percent for 2012.

The unanimous vote of the nine-member Nevada Employment Security Council came despite the recommendation from one employer representative for an increase in the rate to 2.5 percent or even 2.75 percent so Nevada could pay off its federal loans more quickly.

Ray Bacon, executive director of the Nevada Manufacturers Association and the only employer representative to testify at the hearing, recommended the increase despite the difficult economic situation in Nevada.

Ray Bacon, executive director of the Nevada Manufacturers Association, argued for a higher average tax rate. / Photo: Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau.

“As we have done in the past, we think that the best remedy for employers is to bring some level of stability to this thing so that we don’t wind up with a rate increase year after year after year and that we get out of from under the federal thumb as fast as reasonable, not as fast as possible,” he said.

Nevada’s unemployment tax rate is low compared to other states, Bacon said.

The 2 percent rate would bring in an estimated $438 million to pay jobless claims. A 2.75 percent rate would bring in just over $600 million.

Leaving the rate at 2 percent means the federal loans, for which interest is being charged that must be paid out of the state’s general fund, won’t be paid off until 2018. A 2.75 percent average tax rate would see the loans paid off in 2016.

But the few members of the council who commented during the meeting expressed concern about the effect of a tax rate increase on job creation efforts.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Research and Analysis Bureau of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said Nevada’s job losses have been severe.

“We’ve lost, since the official start of the recession, about 190,000 jobs here in Nevada,” he said.

Cindy Jones, administrator of the Employment Security Division, said it has been the practice in Nevada to increase the tax rate during times of economic health, allowing for the creation of a reserve to pay benefits in tough times.

After listening to two hours of testimony on jobless rates and what different tax rates would do to help pay down the federal loans, Paul Havas, chairman of the panel, recommended to keep the average rate the same.

Cindy Jones, administrator of the Employment Security Division, and Paul Havas, chairman of the council, listen to testimony today. / Photo: Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau

The rates employers actually pay vary based on a rating system assessing the risk of layoffs. Those rates range from 0.25 percent to 5.4 percent. New employers not yet assessed a risk would pay 2.95 percent. The tax rates will be assessed on the first $26,400 in an employees’ wages.

The recommendation of the council will be used by Jones to formally set the rate for 2012 later this year.

The 2011 average tax rate was increased last year, from 1.33 percent to 2 percent. The new rate will take effect on Jan. 1.

There was a bit of good news reported to the council by Jones during the meeting. Nevada is the only state in the nation that received a nine-month extension on its first interest payment to the federal government that had been due on Sept. 30, she said.

Nevada won’t have to make its payment, estimated now at $22.5 million, until June 30, 2012, Jones said. The reason for the delay is Nevada’s worst-in-the-nation unemployment rate, she said. Nevada is the only state that had a 12-month jobless average that exceeded 13.5 percent, allowing for the extension.

“So unfortunately we had that high unemployment rate,” she said. “I’m very hopeful that we do not qualify next year. I really don’t want the state to endure that sort of unemployment level for the next year in order to qualify for that mere nine-month deferral.”

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Audio clips:

Ray Bacon of the Nevada Manufacturers Association argued for a higher rate to pay off the federal loans more quickly:

100411Bacon :18 fast as possible.”

Nevada state economist Bill Anderson says the state has lost about have the jobs created in the 10-year boom that ended in 2007:

100411Anderson :25 what we gained.”

 

Nevada Fares Well In 50-State Budget Comparison But Still Faces Fiscal Challenges

By Sean Whaley | 3:46 pm October 4th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Nevada ranks well overall in an analysis by the nonpartisan State Budget Solutions of spending trends over the past decade, coming in 12th in the review of how states have managed their money in times of growth and recession.

The report, released last week, looks not only at general fund spending, but all types of spending, including federal funds. The review encompasses liabilities states face well into the future, including pension and health care costs, and the amounts borrowed from the federal government to pay unemployment claims.

Nevada has borrowed about $773 million in the current economic downturn to pay jobless benefits. The money will have to be repaid, and interest is now accruing on the loans. The interest payments will come out of Nevada’s already hard hit general fund.

“Our goal at State Budget Solutions is to explain just how states ended up where they are today, debunk the various myths and find real solutions for states to achieve fiscal responsibility,” said Bob Williams, president of the organization. “This research is vital to every state because it shows the significant holes that states create for themselves when they use accounting tricks and budget gimmicks to shift money out of other funds into their general fund.”

Bob Williams, president of State Budget Solutions.

Among the best states for total fund budgeting are Wyoming, with a total funds surplus of 21.56 percent, followed by North Dakota with a 14.39 percent surplus. Nevada, at No. 12, had a total funds surplus of 2.2 percent.

The worst performing states in the total fund surplus ranking were Wisconsin with a 29.14 percent deficit, followed by Oregon at -12.42 percent and Ohio at -11.25 percent.

Nevada did not do so well in terms of its general fund ranking, however, coming in 40th with a 5.46 percent deficit.

The implication from this number is that Nevada is spending more general fund revenue than there is the ability to repay.

Tops in this category was New Hampshire with a 38.45 percent general fund surplus. Last was Wisconsin with a 29.14 percent deficit.

In a telephone interview with the Nevada News Bureau, Williams said Nevada ranks well overall in the analysis but still faces a number of challenges, particularly with the lack of jobs.

“What we see in your state the biggest problem is jobs,” he said.

Nevada is No. 1 in the nation in unemployment at 13.4 percent in August. When those who have given up looking for work and those who are working part time but who want to work full time are included, Nevada’s jobless rate is at 23.7 percent, again, highest among the states in this broader jobless measure.

At a meeting today to consider the unemployment insurance tax rate for 2012, Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Research and Analysis Bureau of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said Nevada can expect to see only modest job growth of about 1 percent next year.

“We’re moving sideways,” he said. “So the good news is that the dramatic job losses of previous years are behind us. The bad news is we just don’t see that upward momentum that we would like to be seeing.

“Right now we’re just bouncing along the bottom,” Anderson said.

Williams, a former Washington state lawmaker, praised the reform efforts of Gov. Brian Sandoval.

“Your governor has made a lot of progress,” Williams said. “But even though overall you rank very well, the problem is, most of the states, even the states that rank well, have problems in the future as you know in your last budget.”

In addition to the federal borrowing for jobless claims, Nevada faces a $2.3 billion unfunded liability for state retiree health care, and a multi-billion dollar public pension liability that could be as high as $33.5 billion based on one type of analysis, he said.

A big plus for Nevada was the approval in the 2011 session of a bill requiring performance-based budgeting, Williams said.

“If that is truly implemented that is going to really help legislators focus on outcomes rather than just income,” he said.

The decision by the Legislature and Sandoval to end a health insurance subsidy for new state employees hired after Jan. 1, 2012 was also a major achievement although it does not address the unfunded liability for current workers and retirees.

“There is a concern on general fund, but total funds – you fared better than most states and some of the actions taken by your governor are very impressive,” Williams said. “Plus the fact that they passed performance-based budgeting. The key will be, will he be able to get some of his other reforms through and we don’t know that yet. But I think you’ve got a governor who wants to go in the right direction.”

The SBS report analyzed both the general funds and total funds of each state, looking at each year in the past decade, comparing the general fund revenues and expenditures, drawn from the National Association of State Budget Officers’ “State Expenditure Report” to total government revenues and expenditures from the Census Bureau’s “Annual Survey of State Government Finances,” as well as looking at revenues and expenditures are from each state’s 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

“State Budget Solutions is hopeful that state legislatures will look at these numbers and begin take responsibility for their budget crisis,” Williams said. “We can no longer afford to have states manipulate their budget and ignore their out-of-control spending habits, which is only sinking them deeper into debt.”

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Audio clips:

State Budget Solutions President Bob Williams says even states that rank well face future challenges:

100411Williams1 :12 your last budget.”

Williams says Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval wants to make fiscal reforms:

100411Williams2 :23 the right direction.”

Nevada state economist Bill Anderson says job growth next year will be modest:

100411Anderson :12 to be seeing.”

Unemployment Rate Drops in November Due to Smaller Labor Force

By Sean Whaley | 8:31 am December 17th, 2009
CARSON CITY – Nevada’s unemployment rate fell for the second consecutive month in November, declining six-tenths of a percentage point to a seasonally adjusted 12.3 percent, but the drop was attributed to a decline in the state labor force.

The decline from a revised 12.9 percent unemployment rate in October was reported today by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. An estimated 161,400 Nevadans were actively searching for work in November.

“On the surface, the decline in the rate is a positive sign, indicating the recession is beginning to subside,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the agency. “Unfortunately, a more detailed review of the components of the unemployment rate reveals a troubling trend. Primary amongst them is the decline of the state’s labor force.”

Nevada’s labor force contracted for the second month in a row in November, falling by 1.5 percent, meaning roughly 13,900 workers either left the state or were too discouraged to seek employment, he said.

The labor force deteriorated in both of the state’s major metropolitan areas, causing the unemployment rate to decline significantly. In the Las Vegas area, the rate declined nine-tenths of a point, to 12.1 percent, marking the largest one month drop on record going back to 1990.

A similar drop occurred in the Reno-Sparks area, where the jobless rate fell from 12.2 to 11.3 percent. Carson City’s unemployment rate declined six-tenths of a percent to 11.2 percent.

Unemployment rates for the state’s metropolitan areas are not adjusted for seasonality. For comparison purposes, the state’s unadjusted unemployment rate was 11.8 percent in November.

Some of Nevada’s rural economies continue to enjoy the benefits of a robust gold market.

Gold prices recently topped $1,200 per ounce, Anderson said.

“All of this bodes well for the mining region’s labor market,” he said. “The unemployment rate is already considerably lower than the state as a whole.“

In the Elko metropolitan area, which includes Elko and Eureka counties, the unemployment rate is just 5.9 percent, nearly 6 points lower than the statewide average.

“Nevada’s mining industry will continue to thrive as long as the current economic situation persists,” Anderson said.

Following a one month reprieve, employment in both the private and public sectors of the state continued to fall, losing 9,200 jobs in November. Despite the partial opening of City Center in Las Vegas, prolonged weakness in the leisure and hospitality industry resulted in the industry losing another 5,700 jobs statewide.

Public sector employers shed 2,100 jobs, perhaps due to ongoing budget woes, he said.