New jobs coming to Wynn Encore and CityCenter are sorely needed in Nevada, where the unemployment rate hit 8 percent in November, the highest level since February 1984, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported Friday.
The Strip resorts are hiring some 17,000 people, little consolation for the 111,700 unemployed Nevadans in today's economy.
The state's unemployment rate rose 0.4 percentage points from October and remained well above the national rate of 6.7 percent.
The rise in unemployment was widespread throughout the state, said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the employment department.
Las Vegas-Paradise and Reno-Sparks metropolitan areas both jumped 0.4 percentage points to 7.9 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively. Carson City rose the most -- 0.7 percentage points to 8.1 percent.
The National Bureau of Economic Research announced in early December that the economy is in recession, something many Nevadans had known for months, Anderson said.
The recession has affected nearly every sector of Nevada's economy, from leisure and hospitality to construction, which has been hit hardest, he said. The state has lost nearly 16,000 construction jobs in the past 12 months.
"I think it's important not to be too gloomy," Anderson said. "We're going to come out of this downturn at some point. I'd say in late 2009 we'll see some stability return. That's our hope. It's not going to go on for years."
Nationwide, employment fell by more than 500,000 for the first time since December 1974. Overall, employment has contracted by 1.9 million jobs this year.
Las Vegas, which once led the nation with 6 percent employment growth, has struggled to create jobs in the faltering economy. Even with 5,000 new jobs at Encore, the casino industry has shed 5,100 jobs from a year ago, Anderson said. Nevada's economy lost 2,700 jobs in November and 15,300 from a year ago.
Doug Geinzer of Recruiting Nevada employment service said people are still seeking work in Las Vegas. In the third quarter, 70 percent of job seekers visiting his Web site, www. recruitingnevada.com, were from Nevada, California, Texas and Arizona.
"Job creation obviously is the slowest it's been in a long time," Geinzer said. "We're seeing folks in the time-share industry going on hiring freezes. You know it's slow. It's kind of crazy right now."
Geinzer said the employment situation may turn around in the second or third quarter of 2009, depending on the impact of President-elect Barack Obama's $850 billion stimulus package. Jobs will pick up in public works, including telecommunication infrastructure projects in Southern Nevada, he said.
The Christmas season is a time when many retailers are seeking part-time staff, but the industry doesn't show much optimism, Anderson said.
Retail hiring has been "less than stellar" so far, he said, growing by 2,700 jobs from October to November, about 1,000 fewer jobs than average gains from 2002 to 2007.
The top five employment categories for job seekers in the Recruiting Nevada survey were nursing (41 percent); construction management (18 percent); mining trade (18 percent); construction trades (13 percent); and instruction (10 percent).
John Restrepo of Restrepo Consulting Group, which also worked on the survey, noted that a relatively high number of well-educated job seekers are looking for work in Nevada. The data indicated that 35 percent had a bachelor's degree or higher.
Contact reporter Hubble Smith at email@example.com or 702-383-0491.