The Nevada Legislature received positive forecasts on the state’s employment opportunities during Wednesday’s Economic Forum in the capitol.
Nevada’s unemployment numbers are still the highest in the nation, but according to Bill Anderson, Chief Economist at the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, the number of unemployed Nevadans will likely continue to drop between now and 2015. Since 2010, Nevada has added approximately 50,900 jobs; this includes predictions from the 2013 year-to-date statistics. Anderson said if current trends remain steady, the total job growth since 2010 will likely reach 53,000 by the end of 2013.
“We were the hardest hit state in the nation during the recession,” Anderson said. “And now, we’re starting to move up the rankings in terms of our job group.”
The highest unemployment numbers in Nevada are in Lyon and Mineral counties. As of March, Nevada’s unemployment rate stands at 9.7 percent, followed by California, Illinois and Mississippi, also with high unemployment rates. Anderson said Nevada’s unemployment rate has been declining faster than any other in the nation.
“In terms of the unemployment rate, so far this year we’re trending about two percent point below where we were a year ago,” Anderson said. “We’re starting to narrow that gap in respect to the nation and other states.”
Currently, leisure and hospitality jobs lead the way in Nevada job growth with about 9,000 more positions reported in the first quarter of 2013 than at the same time last year. According to Anderson, negative numbers recorded in some of Nevada’s job sectors may be related to the loss of temporary positions normally added during the holiday season. Anderson said he believes this may actually be a good thing because current job growth numbers likely represent the addition of more permanent positions.
“I characterize the kind of growth that we’re seeing as steady but moderate,” Anderson said. “We’re making up some of our lost ground.”