Employment in Nevada dropped by thousands of jobs last month, but economists say the local job market is still looking strong.
A Wednesday report from the Nevada Department of Education, Training and Rehabilitation showed Nevada lost 4,000 jobs between May and June. When compared to June 2018, though, employment was still up 45,500 jobs.
“Even though we’ve slipped back a little bit, we’re still really strong overall,” said David Schmidt, chief economist for DETR. “We focus on year-over-year change because it’s a lot more reliable data.”
Schmidt said a major driver behind the drop was the construction industry. Non-seasonally adjusted employment in the industry was down 3,000 jobs between May and June, 2,300 of which were specialty trade contractors — such as those working in plumbing and with electrician companies.
Schmidt said he can only speculate why there was such a massive drop in the industry between May and June. It could be a larger construction company shifting jobs, or this could be a readjustment if DETR overestimated numbers for a previous report.
Year over year, DETR found Nevada’s construction industry saw 9 percent growth in employment.
“Construction as a whole has been doing really well recently. It’s been growing rapidly,” he said. “I suspect this is just temporary, and will be smoothed out when we get to next month.”
Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst at Applied Analysis, said the drop in total employment between May and June has been ongoing the past six years.
He suggested seasonal changes in certain industries, like after-school services or day care, could play a role.
“All of our clients are telling us how difficult it is to find qualified employees,” he said.
Closing the gap
The DETR report also found the difference between the unemployment rates in the U.S. and Nevada was 0.3 percentage points, the smallest gap since January 2008.
“It’s a nice little milestone,” Schmidt said.
The state hit a 4 percent unemployment rate in April, the lowest in 13 years. The rate remained unchanged in June.
“We’re just barely above the lowest (unemployment) rate we’ve seen in the last 40 years,” Schmidt said. “We’re still in a very strong position.”