Nevada unemployment drops to 6.4 percent in December

Nevada’s jobless rate ended 2015 with another small downward slide.

Statewide unemployment fell to 6.4 percent in December, compared with 6.5 percent in November and 7 percent in December 2014, the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported Wednesday.

December brought the 60th straight month of job gains across Nevada. Nearly 39,000 more people were working in December compared with the same month a year earlier. That’s a job formation rate of 3 percent.

The fastest growers included construction, which added 5,500 jobs for an 8.6 percent growth rate, and leisure and hospitality, which grew by 9,600 positions, or 2.8 percent.

The state had a jobs base of almost 1.34 million in December. At the same time, 91,800 Nevadans were out of work and looking in the month. That was down from 98,500 in December 2014.

The overall labor force grew as well, adding 31,800 more people, for a total of 1.43 million.

“Nevada’s labor force is surging,” said Bill Anderson, the employment department’s chief economist. “Despite the fact that this limits downward pressure on the jobless rate, this is a positive development, as it suggests there is growing confidence in the overall health of the labor market and job prospects.”

The employment department will release local unemployment rates next week.

Nevada’s jobless rate remained well above the national average of 5 percent.

If you include discouraged workers and underemployed part-timers who would rather work full-time, Nevada’s jobless rate averaged 14.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2014 through the third quarter of 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s compared to a national average of 10.8 percent.

Contact Jennifer Robison at Find @_JRobison on Twitter.

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