Las Vegas unemployment was reported to have decreased slightly, while the percentage of unemployed Nevadans went down slightly in March to 13.6 percent.
At the same time, Nevada lost 4,300 jobs, and statistics show the state isn’t experiencing its normal springtime hiring.
Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said that, in an apparent contradiction, that caused the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to rise.
“We normally see the unemployment rate decline as we approach the warm weather months,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist for DETR. “However, the downward trend wasn’t as pronounced as it normally would be and, as a result, our seasonally adjusted rate at the state level went up.”
The seasonally adjusted rate of 13.4 is the highest on record.
Economists “seasonally adjust” statewide unemployment rates to account for swings in the number of jobs caused by regular annual occurrences. Unemployment jumps up, for example, in September when high school and college kids leave jobs to return to school. Hiring jumps annually at the start of the Christmas shopping season when retailers hire temporary staff.
In this case, the adjustment is for the historic gearing up of summer tourism-related jobs and springtime hiring by construction companies.
Regional market rates are not seasonally adjusted.
“On the heels of improvement in February, the loss of 4,300 jobs in March is disappointing but indicative of the turbulence expected as the economy looks for direction,” Anderson said.
Only Carson City added jobs, but, even with 300 more jobs , the capital is still down 1,000 from a year ago.
Of those 300 added jobs, some 200 hires were by the state to fill positions deemed as necessary. The remaining 100 were by private sector service producing companies. The number of manufacturing positions was steady through March.
At least one group, the Economics Policy Institute, says the impact of this turbulent economy is disproportionately hurting the young.
“The recession combined with state and federal minimum wage increases has created a toxic environment for young Americans searching for a summer job,” said Michael Saltsman of EPI.
He said especially because of higher minimum wages, employers are reducing the number of low-wage jobs or moving to self-service systems that don’t require as many employees.
Anderson said construction and business services categories lost nearly 8,000 jobs in March. But much of that was made up by gains in leisure, hospitality, trade transportation and utility hiring as well as 400 people put to work by the 2010 Census. The net loss was 4,300.
Anderson said the Census Bureau plans to hire a total of 4,800 this spring and summer and, while those jobs are temporary, they will help reduce the state’s jobless numbers.
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said federally supported energy projects either under way or planned will also put more Nevadans back to work. He said the list includes a power transmission line connecting northern and southern Nevada, A-Power’s new wind turbine plans and the solar electric generating plant being built in Eldorado Valley.
In Carson City, the jobless rate was 13.3 percent, leaving 3,900 out of 29,000 in the labor pool without work.
Las Vegas employment declined a tenth to 13.8 percent. An estimated 136,000 out of 986,400 workers are looking for work there.
In Reno/Sparks, the rate dipped two tenths to 13.2 percent — 30,100 out of 227,600 workers.
Elko is in the best shape of any reporting area in Nevada even though unemployment rose two-tenths during March to 8.5 percent. Elko has a labor force of 28,300 and just 2,400 jobless due to the continued strength of Nevada’s mining industry.
The state’s jobless rate remains second highest in the nation behind Michigan’s 14.1 percent and is well above the 9.7 percent national rate.