Posts Tagged ‘detr’

Federal Unemployment Program To Expire In January

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 12:39 pm November 28th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A federal emergency unemployment benefit program will expire on Jan. 2, cutting off about 25,000 Nevadans from the program, a state agency reported today.

The federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program will expire unless Congress votes to extend the federal benefits as it has done in the past, said Renee Olson, administrator of the Employment Security Division of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).

As a result, about 25,000 Nevadans currently receiving EUC will be abruptly cut off and each week another 1,000 claimants who are receiving regular unemployment, (which allows for a maximum of 26 weeks), will exhaust their benefits and not be able to move to the EUC program, Olson said.

However, claimants should continue to file their weekly claims so that benefits can be paid as quickly as possible if Congress does vote in favor of extending the EUC program, she added. There are nearly 32,000 people on the regular unemployment benefits program in Nevada.

“The last week payable for EUC benefits is December 29, 2012, which means those claimants on EUC will stop receiving benefits, even if they still have balances remaining on their claims,” Olson said. “In the past, claimants have been allowed to continue receiving benefits through the end of the tier they were in.”

Congress first enacted the federal benefits package in June 2008 in response to record high unemployment. Claimants currently qualify for a maximum of 73 weeks. In July of this year, the State Extended Benefits program ended, dropping the number of weeks from 99 to 79, then in September, six more weeks were cut, dropping the maximum weeks from 79 to 73.

Nevada’s unemployment rate is below its peak of 14 percent hit in October of 2010, but remains in double-digits as of October at 11.5 percent.

DETR Director Frank R. Woodbeck said the department is remaining diligent in its efforts to offer innovative training programs that will lead to positive employment outcomes for Nevada’s job seekers.

“We understand the severity of this situation and sympathize with our citizens who are still having a difficult time finding employment,” Woodbeck said. “I want to encourage these Nevadans to visit their nearest Nevada JobConnect office so that our counselors can assist them with job placement and training needs as they pursue gainful employment.

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck.

“Additionally, DETR is working tirelessly with the Governor’s Office on Economic Development and other partners to explore every opportunity to bring more industries to the state, while also creating training programs that will assist our job seekers in being prepared for a more diverse business environment,” he said.

Information on local support services may be obtained by calling 211; this is a centralized number for social support service directories.

Claimants are encouraged to visit DETR for updates on the status of the EUC program, as representatives in Telephone Claims Centers won’t be able to answer questions or provide any further information, Olson said.

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.”

State Workforce Consolidation Plan Gains Support From Northern Nevada Elected Officials

By Sean Whaley | 3:35 pm June 20th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Local elected officials representing the Northern Nevada workforce development agency have endorsed a plan to restructure the delivery of job training funds to Nevadans, including eliminating the two local boards now involved in the process.

The 13 local elected officials who oversee the northern agency, called Nevadaworks, have unanimously endorsed the consolidation plan put forward by Frank R. Woodbeck, director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). If approved, the changes are expected to free up $5 million for job training that is now consumed by administrative costs incurred by the two local boards.

“On behalf of the local elected officials of the 13 Northern Nevada counties represented by Nevadaworks, please accept this letter in support of your agency’s plan,” said Norman Frey, chairman of the Nevadaworks board and a Churchill County commissioner, in a letter sent to Woodbeck on June 11.

The statewide Governor’s Workforce Investment Board has also unanimously supported the consolidation plan, which will require a waiver from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Elected officials representing the Southern Nevada workforce agency, called Workforce Connections, are opposing the consolidation effort, however, citing concerns over local control and the potential loss of job training funds in the south.

Gov. Brian Sandoval is strongly in support of the consolidation effort

In an Op-ed column published earlier this month in the Nevada Appeal, he said the plan will not change the structure of the workforce investment areas (one north and one south); and will not change the allocation of funding to the areas, which is set by the Department of Labor.

“This new plan calls for greater collaboration between workforce development and the newly restructured Governor’s Office Economic Development, which earlier this year released its plan under the ‘Moving Nevada Forward’ label as well,” he said. “A key area of focus for my administration is building the type of trained workforce that will support economic diversification.”

Woodbeck said he is pursing the consolidation, outlined in a plan called “Moving Nevada Forward – A Plan for Excellence in Workforce Development” in part because of excessive administrative costs identified in audits of Workforce Connections.

The most recent audit, performed by the state Division of Internal Audits, found that Workforce Connections spent nearly twice as much on administration and monitoring of its programs than its northern counterpart.

But it is also about efficiency and linking job training with the state’s new plan for economic diversification and job growth, he said.

Ardell Galbreth, interim executive director of Workforce Connections since April, has testified that he has made numerous spending reductions at the agency as a result of the audit, including eliminating staff and reducing several six-figure salaries.

Woodbeck said the consolidation plan calls for significant change

Woodbeck said in a telephone interview today that he would like to have the support of both local boards in seeking the waiver from the Department of Labor, but that he will move forward regardless. The wavier will be filed July 1 along with the state’s plan, with a decision expected by the fall.

“Efficiency and effectiveness is really what we’re trying to achieve here,” Woodbeck said. “And it is a change in the system. And when you change anything, people get a little nervous about that.”

The two local boards have been in existence since the Workforce Investment Act was signed into law in 1998.

The consolidation, if approved, will still keep local elected officials involved in the process, including representation on the governor’s board and on the seven Industry Sector Councils created as part of Sandoval’s overall economic diversification and development strategy, he said.

“So it’s really a transferring of the expertise, essentially,” Woodbeck said. “To either the governor’s board or to the Industry Sector Councils. And in fact the governor has agreed to expand the number of local elected officials on the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board. So they will really be the oversight folks and they will have four local elected officials on there from various regions.”

Currently, funding is provided from the federal Department of Labor to the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and funneled to two local boards, one in Southern Nevada and the other in Northern Nevada. These boards in turn contract with public and private organizations to offer workforce training programs to youth and adult and dislocated workers.

Funding would continue to flow to these public and private organizations under the new consolidation plan.

The U.S. Department of Labor provided about $29.5 million in fiscal year 2011 to Nevada for the programs that are intended to help improve the employability of participants, including both youth and adults.

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Audio clips:

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck says change is not always easy:

062012Woodbeck1 :10 nervous about that.”

Woodbeck says Gov. Brian Sandoval has agreed to expand local elected representation on the state investment board:

062012Woodbeck2 :26 from various regions.”

Nevada’s Declining Jobless Rate Triggers End Of State Extended Benefits

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 1:07 pm June 18th, 2012

CARSON CITY – About 5,500 unemployment insurance recipients who are collecting State Extended Benefits (SEB) will see an end to those benefits on July 7, the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) announced today.

Renee Olson, administrator for DETR’s Employment Security Division, said Nevada’s declining unemployment rate, which hit 11.6 percent in May, is the reason for the end of the benefits. The May rate announced Friday is the lowest in Nevada in three years and the ninth consecutive month of declines.

SEB is a federally funded extended unemployment insurance program available to high unemployment states, and has been active in Nevada since February 2009. Federal and state laws mandate that states in which SEB is paid have a three-month average unemployment rate that remains at least 10 percent higher than the corresponding months in any one of the three prior years.

Nevada’s current three-month average unemployment rate is 11.8 percent, and in order to meet this threshold for SEB, Nevada’s three-month average rate would have needed to be 12 percent or higher, Olson said.

“This exceptionally severe recession left many people unemployed for long periods of time,” she said. “The SEB program assisted them while they continued to search for their next job, and we understand that this is unfortunate news for those who depend on these benefits. We are committed to continuing to help them in their job search through Nevada JobConnect.”

SEB has provided up to a maximum of 20 additional weeks of extended unemployment benefits. Those individuals currently exhausting the fourth tier of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) may be eligible for SEB through the week ending July 7.

The SEB program is not part of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program. The EUC program will remain available for those exhausting regular state unemployment insurance benefits. The federally funded EUC program will remain in effect until the end of 2012.

DETR is notifying all individuals currently receiving SEB by mail that the program is ending, Olson said. Notices include information on how to access other government resources, including services provided by the Nevada JobConnect locations and public assistance offices. Telephone claims representatives will not have any further information to provide.

“The declining unemployment rate suggests that Nevada’s labor market is on the mend, however, we recognize that it is still a challenge for many to find work,” said DETR Director Frank R. Woodbeck. “With continuous support from the governor’s office, DETR is committed to doing everything possible to rebuild Nevada’s economy, which means attracting more businesses to the state and cultivating our training and placement services offered through Nevada JobConnect. We want to assure our citizens we are behind them every step of the way through this difficult time.”

 

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.”

 

State Workforce Board Approves Consolidation Plan Opposed By Southern Nevada Officials

By Sean Whaley | 3:32 pm June 14th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The Governor’s Workforce Investment Board today unanimously approved a plan to consolidate two local boards in an effort to free up $5 million in federal funds to train the unemployed.

The move, which requires approval from the U.S. Department of Labor, is opposed by Workforce Connections, the Southern Nevada workforce investment board.

The vote came after Ardell Galbreth, interim executive director of the local board, restated his opposition to the proposal, which was developed after an audit identified excessive spending by the local board on administrative costs. Other Southern Nevada officials also oppose the move, and they expressed their opposition at a public hearing on Monday.

Frank Woodbeck, director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), said the proposal to consolidate the two local boards with the state board will be submitted to the Department of Labor by the end of the month. A decision is expected by the end of the year, he said.

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck.

Woodbeck said it wasn’t just the most recent audit, but earlier reports that also identified concerns, which led to the decision to move forward with consolidation.

“So it was after long deliberation, and after a history of facts, that we reached this particular conclusion,” he said.

“This new plan will result in a significant amount of funds being spent directly for much-needed services, as we are essentially removing an administrative layer of expense,” Woodbeck said when the consolidation plan was announced last month.

Galbreth, who has been interim director of Workforce Connections only since April, has taken a number of actions to reduce administrative costs, including reducing the staff from 72 to 34.

Galbreth read a letter at the meeting of the state board, saying the state plan prepared by DETR has many good elements.

“However, with considerable thought and all due respect to the governor and the state officials, the Southern Nevada Workforce Investment Area Chief Local Elected Official Consortium strongly opposes the state plan to establish a single, consolidated workforce investment board to oversee the delivery of statewide workforce development services,” he said.

Concerns are whether Southern Nevada will continue to receive a full share of funding under the new configuration, and the view that local control of the funds is superior to having the money distributed by a statewide board, Galbreth said.

Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, a member of the state board, questioned why local officials would oppose the plan.

“The dollars need to get out to the community,” she said.

Gov. Brian Sandoval is moving forward with the proposal despite the opposition, saying the consolidation will put more money into efforts to train the unemployed to find jobs.

The audit found that Workforce Connections spent nearly twice as much on administration and monitoring of its programs than its northern counterpart. Following the release of the audit, DETR announced its plan to consolidate the two local boards with the state board.

Currently, funding is provided from the federal Department of Labor to the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and funneled to two local boards, one in Southern Nevada and the other in Northern Nevada. These boards in turn contract with public and private organizations to offer workforce training programs to youth and adult and dislocated workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor provided about $29.5 million in fiscal year 2011 to Nevada for the programs that supported over 26,000 participants. The programs are intended to help improve the employability of participants.

In announcing the plan to change the operation of the boards, Sandoval said: “This new plan calls for greater collaboration between workforce development and the newly restructured Governor’s Office Economic Development, which earlier this year released its plan under the ‘Moving Nevada Forward’ label as well. A key area of focus for my administration is building the type of trained workforce that will support economic diversification.”

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Audio clips:

Ardell Galbreth, interim executive director of Workforce Connections, says Southern Nevada officials oppose the consolidation plan:

061412Galbreth :22 workforce development services.”

Frank Woodbeck, director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), says it was not just the recent audit but previous findings that led to the proposal:

061412Woodbeck :07 this particular conclusion.”

Southern Nevadans Oppose Plan To Eliminate Local Workforce Development Board

By Sean Whaley | 12:00 pm June 11th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Representatives and supporters of the Clark County workforce investment board today strongly opposed a plan being pushed by Gov. Brian Sandoval to consolidate the two local boards in an effort to make more money available to train the unemployed.

At a public hearing on Sandoval’s proposal, Ardell Galbreth, interim executive director of Workforce Connections, read a letter opposing the plan, called  “Moving Nevada Forward: A Plan For Excellence in Workforce Development.”

He was joined by other speakers, including René Cantú Jr., executive director of the Latin Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation, and Richard Boulware, first vice president of the Las Vegas chapter of the NAACP, in opposing the consolidation proposal.

“Workforce Connections staff and board are responsive to the needs of local funded partners, and understand our community and our clients, and our own challenges of Southern Nevada nonprofits,” Cantú said. “Ardell Galbreth, interim director, has provided the Latin Chamber Foundation with tremendous commitment of support and here in the south they understand us and are committed to helping us.”

There is an overwhelming consensus in Southern Nevada that consolidation would threaten funding to groups like the Latin Chamber foundation, he said.

Job training tour by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. / Photo courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Labor.

“There’s also an overwhelming consensus that such a move would lead to less sensitivity to local needs, that it would skew funding north, that it would allow (the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitiation (DETR), to allot the funds arbitrarily and without accountability to the community, clients or funded partners,” Cantú said. “Based on these considerations I would ask, respectfully, that the boards be allowed to remain as they are.”

There is a need for reform, and Galbreth is moving in that direction, he said.

Boulware said people in the local community know best what their needs are.

“And what we don’t need, with all due respect to the state and to the governor, are people from outside of our local community telling us what we need and where we need to spend our money,” he said.

The NAACP will be opposing the proposed consolidation at all levels, Boulware said.

DETR officials heard public comment but took no immediate action on the proposal.

Currently, funding is provided from the federal Department of Labor to the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and funneled to two local boards, one in Southern Nevada and the other in Northern Nevada. These boards in turn contract with public and private organizations to offer workforce training programs to youth and adults and dislocated workers.

Sandoval is moving forward with the consolidation plan following an audit of Workforce Connections that showed excessive spending on administration and other costs.

Galbreth, who took over leadership of the agency in April, said last month in  response to the audit that major changes have been implemented to reduce administrative and other costs.

In announcing the plan to change the operation of the boards, Sandoval said: “This new plan calls for greater collaboration between workforce development and the newly restructured Governor’s Office Economic Development, which earlier this year released its plan under the ‘Moving Nevada Forward’ label as well. A key area of focus for my administration is building the type of trained workforce that will support economic diversification.”

Organizations currently contracted as service providers to citizens for workforce needs will continue in the same capacity, but will be managed by DETR staff instead of the northern and southern board offices. Federal funding designated for each of the local workforce investment areas will remain unchanged; no geographic area of the state gains or loses under the reorganization and existing providers can remain in place if they are delivering the appropriate level of service to the end-user.

The audit of the state’s two local workforce investment boards found the Southern Nevada agency spent nearly twice as much on administration and monitoring of its programs than its northern counterpart.

If the southern board cut its local expenses to mirror those of the northern Nevada board, another $1.9 million would have been available to job seekers in fiscal year 2011, the review found. The audit showed Workforce Connections spent 21 percent on administration and monitoring compared to only 11.3 percent in the north.

Sandoval is seeking to finalize the consolidation by the end of this year.

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Audio clips:

René Cantú Jr., the executive director of the Latin Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation, says Workforce Connections is responsive to the needs of the community:

061112Cantu1 :21 to helping us.”

Cantú Jr. says there are concerns that consolidation will skew funding to the north:

061112Cantu2 :26 as they are.”

Richard Boulware, first vice president of the Las Vegas chapter of the NAACP, says local officials know best how to help the community:

061112Boulware :13 spend our money.”

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.”

 

 

 

State Announces Plans To Consolidate Workforce Investment Boards

By Sean Whaley | 12:52 pm May 8th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A state agency announced today it plans to consolidate three separate boards that oversee workforce development into one, resulting in $5 million more in federal funds directed annually to helping train job seekers to find employment.

The plan, “Moving Nevada Forward: A Plan For Excellence in Workforce Development,” was released by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).

Currently, funding is provided from the federal Department of Labor to the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and funneled to two local boards, one in Southern Nevada and the other in Northern Nevada. These boards in turn contract with public and private organizations to offer workforce training programs to youth and adult and dislocated workers.

But a recent audit of this system by the state Division of Internal Audits revealed that too many federal dollars are lost to administrative and duplicative costs.

“I have charged everyone in my administration with looking closely at the functions of their offices, boards and commissions to eliminate duplications and streamline services with the goal of leveraging resources already available and trimming unnecessary overhead,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said. “This new plan calls for greater collaboration between workforce development and the newly restructured Governor’s Office Economic Development, which earlier this year released its plan under the ‘Moving Nevada Forward’ label as well. A key area of focus for my administration is building the type of trained workforce that will support economic diversification.”

Organizations currently contracted as service providers to citizens for workforce needs will continue in the same capacity, but will be managed by DETR staff instead of the northern and southern board offices. Federal funding designated for each of the local workforce investment areas will remain unchanged; no geographic area of the state gains or loses under the reorganization and existing providers can remain in place if they are delivering the appropriate level of service to the end-user.

“This new plan will result in a significant amount of funds being spent directly for much-needed services, as we are essentially removing an administrative layer of expense,” DETR Director Frank R. Woodbeck said. “Administrative functions would be moved to DETR and community service providers will continue to deliver direct services to job seekers.”

The restructuring is expected to be complete by December 2012.

The audit of the state’s two local workforce investment boards found the Southern Nevada agency spent nearly twice as much on administration and monitoring of its programs than its northern counterpart.

If the southern board cut its local expenses to mirror those of the northern Nevada board, another $1.9 million would have been available to job seekers in fiscal year 2011, the review found. The audit showed the Southern Nevada board, called Workforce Connections, spent 21 percent on administration and monitoring compared to only 11.3 percent in the north.

Ardell Galbreth, interim executive director of Workforce Connections, said that major changes have been implemented to reduce administrative and other costs. He took the position on April 5.

Galbreth said last week the 2012 budget has been revised to ensure that no more than 20 percent of the funding will go to program and administrative costs. The staff of 72 at the board is also being reduced to 34 by the end of the year if not before, he said.

 

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.”

 

Big Changes Made To Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 1:57 pm April 12th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A state agency today reported that significant changes have been made to the unemployment insurance benefit structure affecting both current and future recipients.

In February 2012, federal legislation extended the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program through December 2012. The recent change in federal law will affect nearly 75,000 Nevada claimants who currently receive, as well as those who may file, for EUC, said Renee Olson, administrator for the state Employment Security Division.

The changes affect how work searches are documented and the number of weeks claimants can receive EUC benefits. Recipients will now be required to attend a reemployment services orientation as well, she said.

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

Under the new regulations, all individuals filing new EUC claims, or transitioning from EUC Tier I to Tier II, must participate in reemployment eligibility assessment and reemployment services programs.

“The purpose of the orientation is to ensure job search compliance, assist claimants with their reemployment efforts and improve the likelihood of claimants securing new employment,” Olson said. “If selected to participate in these services and an individual fails to comply, benefits must be denied. All EUC claimants will receive a letter providing specific details on the reemployment service orientation and work search requirements.”

An appointment notice will be mailed to EUC claimants to advise them of their mandatory orientation session with the time and location of the orientation. All individuals receiving EUC must complete and document two to three substantive work searches each week for submission and review by division representatives at the orientation event. Failure to attend the scheduled orientation or provide adequate proof of work search is cause to terminate unemployment benefits.

“The changes to the regulations are designed to transition individuals from unemployment benefits to gainful employment,” said Frank Woodbeck, director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). “In doing so, we will rebuild our economy, as well as provide individuals with a more permanent income. We will remain diligent in helping our customers become job ready and in supporting them in reaching their career goals.”

One portion of the regulation won’t take effect until September 2012. At that time, the number of weeks a recipient can receive benefits will be reduced to a maximum of 73 weeks, down from the 99-week maximum that has been in place since 2009.

The federal legislation did not add additional funds for those who have already exhausted their unemployment benefits, Olson said.

 

Nevada’s Jobless Rate Shrinks Again In February But News Not All Good

By Sean Whaley | 11:27 am March 30th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s unemployment rate fell four-tenths of a percentage point in February to a seasonally adjusted 12.3 percent, but the news is not all positive, a state agency reported today.

Bill Anderson, chief economist with the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), said an argument can be made that the forces behind the drop in the jobless rate were signs of weakness.

This month’s drop in the unemployment rate was driven by a fall in the labor force, as roughly 6,500 workers gave up looking for work.

“This does represent the sixth consecutive month in which the jobless rate has declined, we’re now down to 12.3 percent off of a record high of 14 percent,” he said. “But because it is such a modest kind of recovery, we’re going to see bumps along the way. And I would argue that that February report sort of qualifies as one of those bumps in the road.”

Nevada’s Recession Scorecard:  Unemployment Rate:

(Source: Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.)

Monthly estimates from the employer survey show a relatively sharp drop in nonfarm payroll employment. Total employment fell by 12,800 in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, and is down 600 jobs or – 0.1 percent, over-the-year. Despite weak job numbers in February, employment levels are up 7,700 through the first two months of 2012 over the same period a year ago, and by about 14,200 in the private sector.

Despite the weaknesses in the report, that fact that the jobless rate has declined in each of the last six months is a positive development, Anderson said.

Gov. Brian Sandoval welcomed the news of the decline in the state’s jobless rate.

“The latest decline in our unemployment rate indicates our economic indicators are headed in the right direction, but this month’s figures are also a reminder that we must continue to strive for job growth in every sector in this fragile economic recovery,” he said. “We are fighting on every front to help businesses create 50,000 jobs by the end of 2014. Statistics from 2011 indicate more than 10,000 jobs were added, so we still have work to do.”

Non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates, which allow for intra-state comparisons, fell significantly in Nevada and in its sub-state areas. The improvement is due to changes typical of the season.

Unemployment rates in the metro-areas of the state all declined. In both the Las Vegas and Reno-Sparks areas, the unemployment rate fell from 13 percent to 12.2 percent in February.  Carson City’s unemployment rate declined by eight-tenths of a percentage point as well, falling from 13.5 percent in January to 12.7 percent in February. The unemployment rate in the Elko micropolitan (includes Elko and Eureka counties) area fell by seven-tenths to 6.7 percent.

Nevada’s 12.3 percent rate compares to 8.3 percent nationally.

Anderson said the softness in the February report will merit monitoring, “it is important to keep in mind that it comes on the heels of several months of more encouraging news, and we continue to believe that Nevada is on the mend.

“Against a backdrop of stable-to-declining unemployment insurance claims, expanding taxable sales, an uptrend in gaming win, and growing visitor volume, we look for Nevada’s labor market fundamentals to slowly improve,” he said.

“Our initial claims for unemployment insurance have been trending down for about 27 months,” Anderson said. “Right now they are about half of the level that they were at the peak of the recession. So we’re starting to see some definite signs of economic recovery, it’s just not filtering into the labor market quite as much, especially on the jobs front.”

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Audio clips:

DETR Chief Economist Bill Anderson says the February report is a “bump in the road” for Nevada’s gradual economic recovery:

033012Anderson1 :24 in the road.”

Anderson says there are signs of recovery but that the jobs front is lagging:

033012Anderson2 :25 the jobs front.”

 

 

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.”

 

Jobless Claimants Who Had Problems Filing For Benefits Urged To Re-file

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 2:18 pm January 12th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A computer glitch that caused some jobless benefit recipients to have their claims mistakenly rejected this week has been fixed, and claimants who had problems are encouraged to re-file using the state’s website.

Claimants should go online to file their claims as soon as possible, said Frank Woodbeck, director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). The telephone claims center will still accept claims, but due to the already high call volume, claimants may experience longer than usual hold times, he said.

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck.

“Staff worked during the night to correct the problem that may cause some claimants to receive their benefits about two days late,” he said. “We understand the magnitude of this situation as so many depend on unemployment benefits for their livelihood during this tough economic climate.

“We are in the midst of a five-year overhaul of our computer system, but in the meantime, we continue to struggle with 30-year-old technology, that unfortunately doesn’t function well 100 percent of the time,” Woodbeck said.

The agency on Tuesday discovered a computer error that was causing issues processing claims for benefits for this week.

There are currently about 86,000 people who received unemployment benefits weekly. The department traditionally receives a greater number of calls than usual, during this post-holiday season, which is further causing delays for callers accessing the telephone claims system.

The Unemployment Insurance Call Center hours have been extended as a result of computer system issues and a seasonal increase in demand by our customers. However, the center will be closed, as will all state offices, on Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

All calls received prior to 5 p.m. each day will receive assistance from one of our customer agents. The Unemployment Insurance Call Center will be accepting calls Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.