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Report says Nevada job market nearing pre-recession levels

Updated March 3, 2022 - 7:49 pm

A new state jobs report paints a rosier picture of Nevada’s job situation than previously thought.

Updated calculations found that Nevada’s employment level is at 1,425,400 jobs, which is 24,200 jobs fewer than February 2020 but “much closer to pre-recession employment than originally estimated,” a state employment department release said.

Nevada has added 132,900 jobs since January 2021, according to the department, which annually revises its initial job estimates with more complete data.

The revisions show Nevada in December had 50,400 jobs more jobs than first reported, fueled by jumps in Las Vegas (46,900 jobs) and the hotel-casino industry (30,500 jobs), according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation economic report released Thursday.

In a statement, Gov. Steve Sisolak said he was pleased to see that the state economy performed better than first estimated and that momentum was carrying into 2022.

“Jobs are rising, unemployment is falling, and Nevadans are finding jobs to provide for their families,” Sisolak said.

Gains in Las Vegas (46,900 jobs) and the hotel-casino industry (30,500 jobs) fueled the post-revisions job jump. The leisure and hospitality industries continue to lead the state among pandemic-impacted industries at 87.3 percent job recovery of its July 2019 peak.

About 80 percent of the Culinary Union’s 60,000 members are back to work, Culinary Local 226 spokeswoman Bethany Khan said. She attributed the return of hospitality industry workers to strong union contracts and the passage of Senate Bill 386, the Right to Return bill, in the 2021 Nevada Legislature.

Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resort Association, said the resort industry has worked hard to fill open positions with career fairs, on-the-spot hiring events and outreach efforts. She said the report shows Nevada is making “remarkable progress” in its pandemic recovery and it was exciting to see people return to work in such volume.

“As we continue to return to a sense of normalcy and international visitation and tradeshows, conventions and group business rebounds at typical levels, we’ll be well-positioned for the long-awaited job growth and creation needed to keep Nevada moving forward,” she said.

The state unemployment rate fell to 5.2 percent in January, equal to the state’s average unemployment rate from 2015 to 2019, said the employment department’s chief economist, David Schmidt.

The January rate was roughly half what it was in January 2021, 10.2 percent, and a tick below the revised December rate of 5.3 percent. The department initially reported the December unemployment rate was 6.4 percent.

Job growth continued into the new year. Nevada added a net 2,800 jobs in January, concentrated in the financial and professional and business services sectors.

Las Vegas, at roughly 1 million jobs in January, remains about 25,000 jobs below its February 2020 total, although the valley has 6,000 more non-hotel-casino jobs than there were before the pandemic.

Nevada industries with more jobs than their pre-recession peaks include manufacturing at 4.5 percent above its 2019 peak; trade, transportation and utilities at 3.3 percent above the 2019 peak; and education and health services at 3.1 percent above the 2019 peak.

Reno-Sparks in January had 252,000 jobs, higher than before the pandemic, Schmidt said.

“Between the annual revisions to our employment and unemployment data and ongoing improvement from December to January, this is a very positive report,” he said.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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