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Nevada jobless rate dips to 7 percent

Nevada continues to add both new jobs and people looking for work.

The state’s jobless rate fell only slightly in May, as substantial job growth met with gains in the labor pool.

Unemployment was 7 percent in the month, compared with 7.1 percent in April, the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported Wednesday.

Employers statewide added 8,000 jobs from April to May. Leisure and hospitality gained 4,700 jobs, adding 1.3 percent to its base, for 356,000 jobs statewide. Construction posted the biggest percentage gain, growing by 2 percent, or 1,300 positions, for employment of 67,400.

But the labor force also grew, with 5,300 people entering the market to look for work. That’s why job growth didn’t carve a bigger chunk out of unemployment, which remains well above the national average of 5.5 percent. May rankings weren’t out at press time, but the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics showed Nevada at No. 1 for joblessness in April.

Nevada also saw big year-to-year job increases: At 1.25 million jobs, the state had 41,500 more positions in May than a year earlier, for its highest jobs count since September 2008 and a job-formation rate of 3.4 percent. The national rate was 2.2 percent.

Leisure and hospitality gained 15,600 jobs in the first five months of 2015. Construction was up 4,600 jobs through May.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for the employment department, said the state’s jobs market had “an impressive showing” in May.

The number of unemployed Nevadans peaked at nearly 190,000 in 2010. That number fell to 99,000 in May.

If you count discouraged workers who have stopped looking for jobs and part-timers who would rather have full-time work, Nevada’s jobless rate was significantly higher, averaging 15.3 percent from the second quarter of 2014 through the first quarter of 2015. The national average was 11.6 percent.

The employment department will release local rates next week.

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

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