State officials forecast continued drops in state unemployment

The federal shutdown kept September’s jobless numbers out of the hands of state economists on Friday, their scheduled release date.

But that didn’t stop experts with the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation from forecasting where Nevada’s labor market is headed in coming months and years.

For starters, economists projected continued declines in state unemployment, which came in at 9.5 percent statewide and 9.6 percent in Las Vegas in August. That was still well above a national rate of 7.3 percent, but it was a big improvement when measured against rates in the recession. Nevada’s unemployment rate has averaged 9.7 percent in 2013, down from 13.8 percent in 2010.

Bill Anderson, chief economist with the employment department, said the agency expects joblessness to drop to 8.8 percent statewide by 2015.

That’s because economic fundamentals are lining up in Nevada’s favor, he said.

Personal incomes are up 2.7 percent year over year, and July’s 6.2 percent jump in taxable sales marked the 37th straight month of growth. Visitor volume was up 0.8 percent year over year in the first eight months of 2013, and is on track to keep even with 2012’s record stats.

Even the number of employers is gaining ground. Nevada has 57,600 employers now, up from 56,000 in the recession’s depths. The number of employers has risen two years straight, though it’s still below a boom-era peak of 60,500.

And job counts are growing along with work sites.

The state’s economy will have added 50,000 jobs between 2010 and 2013. Nevada had about 20,000 more jobs in the first eight months of 2013 than it had in the same period a year earlier. Economists said they anticipate another 25,000 to 30,000 new jobs a year from now through 2015.

“Nevada’s economy remains on a path of overall modest, but sustainable, improvement,” Anderson said.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said it will release national September jobless numbers on Oct. 22. State numbers should follow soon after, though officials haven’t yet set a formal date.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com. Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.


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