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Las Vegas-area jobless rate still highest in the state in December

Updated January 26, 2021 - 5:45 pm

The unemployment rate in Las Vegas remained the highest in the state last month, even as the local economy adds more jobs, a new report shows.

The Las Vegas metropolitan area’s jobless rate in December, 10.4 percent, dipped from November’s 11.8 percent rate, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. The area’s unemployment rate is 7 percentage points higher now than it was a year ago, at 3.5 percent.

“Las Vegas remains the hardest hit due to the leisure &hospitality sector still operating with limited capacity,” David Schmidt, DETR’s chief economist, said in a release Tuesday.

And Las Vegas isn’t adding as many jobs as other major U.S. areas: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this month that of the 50 metropolitan areas, Las Vegas, in November, saw “the largest over-the-year percentage decreases in employment.”

Las Vegas’ unemployment rate, just 3.9 percent in February 2020, shot to 34 percent in April after Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered casinos and other Nevada businesses closed to help contain the virus’ spread.

Still, tourism-dependent Las Vegas added 6,800 jobs since November 2020, with trade, transportation and utilities sectors growing the most by 3,500 jobs, according to the report.

When compared with December 2019, total unemployment in the Las Vegas area saw a decrease of 99,100 jobs — the vast majority, in leisure and hospitality, down 62,300 jobs, according to DETR. The unemployment rate for the Las Vegas area was 10.4 percent and is still the highest in the state.

“Unemployment rates continued to improve in most areas of the state since November, however, overall unemployment remains particularly high in Las Vegas at 10.4 percent, compared to 5 percent in Reno and 3.5 percent in Elko,” Schmidt said.

Contact Jonathan Ng at jng@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ByJonathanNg on Twitter.

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