Nevada unemployment drops again in January

Nevada’s job market started the year on steady footing.

The state’s unemployment rate slid to 6.2 percent in January, down from 6.3 percent in December and 7.1 percent in January 2015, the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported Wednesday.

Job growth spurred the gains, with the number of positions up 34,000 year over year, said Bill Anderson, the employment department’s chief economist.

The statewide employment base of 1.34 million is just 22,000 jobs, or 1.7 percent, below the pre-recession peak reached in May 2007.

Construction led in growth rate, posting 6,800 new jobs year over year for a 10.2 percent employment spike. Retail added 5,000 jobs, or 3.5 percent. Professional and business services grew by 9,200 positions, or 5.7 percent. Education and health services created 5,400 jobs, for 4.5 percent growth.

The leisure and hospitality sector shrank slightly, dropping 1,100 jobs, or 0.3 percent year over year, though employment was flat from December to January.

“All told, job levels are the highest since mid-2008 and the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since that time,” Anderson said.

Nevada’s annual job-formation rate was 2.7 percent in January, compared with a national rate of 1.9 percent.

The labor force edged up as well, adding 19,200 job hunters, or 1.4 percent, for a work force of 1.43 million. The influx of labor kept the jobless rate from dropping more noticeably.

Nevada’s unemployment still outpaced a national rate of 4.9 percent. The state has ranked in the top five for joblessness since 2010. January’s federal numbers weren’t out Wednesday, but Nevada ranked No. 3 for joblessness in December, behind only Mississippi (6.8 percent) and Alaska (6.6 percent). The state tied with Alabama and New Mexico.

Contact Jennifer Robison at Find @_JRobison on Twitter

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