Unemployment drops in month

Don’t open the champagne bottles yet.

Nevada’s jobless rate fell for the second month in a row, but few experts say they’re celebrating the trend.

That’s because the falloff in unemployment has come courtesy of a decline in the state’s pool of workers, and not because of economic expansion.

Unemployment in Nevada dropped to 12.3 percent in November, down from 12.9 percent in October and a record 13.3 percent in September, according to the latest numbers from the state Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation. Joblessness in Las Vegas has dropped even more steeply, sinking to 12.1 percent in November. That’s down from 13 percent in October and a record 13.9 percent in September.

Unemployment remains well above its levels in November 2008, when 8 percent of Nevadans and 7.9 percent of Las Vegans lacked jobs.

Observers credit recent declines in joblessness to a smaller work force. Nearly 35,000 Nevadans abandoned the state’s labor pool in October and November, either giving up the job hunt or leaving the state, and that makes for a smaller share of residents considered unemployed.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for the employment department, called the dwindling labor force a “troubling trend.” A decline in unemployment often indicates that a recession is subsiding, but that’s not the case here once you look more closely at the data, Anderson said.

You might not think it matters why unemployment drops, just as long as it does. But when joblessness falls because of work-force shrinkage rather than job growth, the trend poses serious implications for the state, said Brian Gordon, a principal in local research firm Applied Analysis. When residents decamp for other states, Nevada’s left with fewer taxpayers to bolster an ailing fiscal outlook. And people who quit looking for jobs and drop out of the work force are likely to be on long-term public assistance, which further depletes state and local resources.

Out-migration also affects the housing market, putting more homes on the market with fewer prospective buyers, though that dynamic benefits bargain hunters looking for deals, Gordon noted.

The state doesn’t track data on why people drop out of the state’s labor pool, but Anderson guessed that a majority of the contraction has come from people giving up the job search, rather than leaving for other markets.

Nevada obtains its jobless numbers not from counting the number of residents receiving unemployment benefits, but from employer and household surveys. The employment department’s statistics don’t include discouraged workers and part-timers who’d rather work full-time. Include those residents, and unemployment is likely closer to 20 percent statewide, economists have said.

Nationally, unemployment came in at 10 percent in November. California hasn’t released its November data yet, but its jobless rate in October was 12.5 percent.

No corner of the Nevada economy has remained untouched in the recession, with every major employment category losing positions. But hospitality and construction, as the state’s two biggest employers, have taken the hardest hit, particularly in Las Vegas. The local market has lost 10 percent of its jobs base, shedding 93,600 positions out of 936,700 since peak employment in May 2007. Of those lost jobs, 37,500 were in construction and 29,900 were in leisure and hospitality. That means well more than two-thirds of the jobs that disappeared locally were in those two sectors, though hospitality and construction made up around 40 percent of the local economy.

The falloff in leisure and hospitality employment came amid a wave of major resort openings, including Encore, the Palazzo, Aliante Station and M Resort. It’s taken big discounts to fill many of the rooms at those properties, Gordon said, but the pullback in resort jobs would have been far worse had the hotel-casinos not opened.

Experts also say it’s too early to tell how CityCenter will affect overall job statistics. The resort did open some of its components the first week in December, so portions of the property were staffed up in November. Yet, Las Vegas lost 8,800 jobs from October to November, including 4,800 leisure and hospitality jobs.

CityCenter’s biggest piece, Aria, opened Wednesday night. CityCenter was set to have 12,000 employees upon its opening, but with 119,000 locals jobless in November, the complex can’t single-handedly make a difference.

“CityCenter won’t cure the employment challenges that are out there, but it will soften the blow,” Gordon said.

It’ll take more than CityCenter to bring job growth back to Nevada, experts said.

Gordon said job losses should decelerate by mid- to late 2010. He and Anderson both said they expect instability in unemployment numbers between now and then, with some months posting unemployment increases and others showing declines.

To pinpoint when growth might return, consider the average number of hours worked per week. Workers put in 33.7 hours a week in September, down from 34.3 hours a week a year earlier and 34.8 hours weekly two years ago, according to figures from Applied Analysis. Average weekly wages were down 6.5 percent when compared with September 2008. As long as companies continue to cut hours and pay for existing workers, they’re unlikely to bring on new staffers, so both of those indicators need to rebound before observers can assert that a recovery has taken hold.

And the employment department doesn’t forecast outright job growth until late 2010 or early 2011. Even then, job formation will seem positively anemic compared with growth rates at the market’s peak, Anderson said. The state’s job base expanded about 6 percent a year at its apex, from 2004 to 2006. In 2011, expect less than 1 percent growth year over year, he predicted.

Even in the longer term, Anderson said he doesn’t expect a return to 6 percent job growth, especially given the lack of casino development in the pipeline for the next three to five years and beyond.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512.

Holiday shopping and returns make this the busiest time of year for UPS
The UPS Las Vegas South facility is the company's busiest pre-load operation in the country, and it's even busier this time of year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Primm’s outlet mall has fallen on hard times
The mall, attached to Primm Valley Resort, opened in 1998. Back then, it was a “textbook, perfect outlet-center location." But now, Primm’s outlet mall has fallen on hard times. Las Vegas Boulevard has endless shopping spots. And there are other outlet malls that don’t require a hefty drive to the state line. Its mortgage-holder foreclosed on the mall in late September.
Miltary auction at Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers
Humvees, ammo cans, construction equipment, field gear and more is on the auction block Friday and Saturday at Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers. About 10,000 items in all are for sale in what GovPlanet bills as the largest auction of its kind.
Las Vegas residents discuss avoiding holiday scams
Las Vegas residents discuss their donation habits and how they avoid giving money to scam charities during the holiday season. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory ahead of economic impact expectations
The Tesla Gigafactory’s economic impact on Nevada has exceeded projections, bringing in more than 7,000 jobs. In 2014, Nevada agreed to give the automotive and energy company $1.3 billion in tax abatements. In return, Tesla promised to meet certain requirements in areas like employment and capital investment. As of June, Tesla has brought in a total of $6.05 billion in capital investment, surpassing the $4.95 billion projection. The original contract gave the company until 2024 to make $3.5 billion in capital investments in Nevada. Derek Armstrong, deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
Land sales near the Las Vegas Raiders stadium
Land around the Las Vegas stadium site has been selling for high prices. A few months before the stadium’s groundbreaking, Global Trust Group acquired a 2.5-acre parcel just north of the stadium site. The property sold for $7.25 million, or $2.9 million an acre. Osprey Real Estate Capital and Huntington Hotel Group acquired a 2-acre industrial site just west of the stadium site in late November. The property sold for $6.5 million, or $3.15 million per acre. That's roughly 12 times the average price of land in the valley this year as tracked by Colliers International.
T-Mobile Tech Experience Truck parks in Toshiba Plaza at T-Mobile Arena
The Tech Experience Truck is a state-of-the-art showroom on wheels, with demonstrations that put connected drones, smart cities, augmented/virtual reality and smart tracking. The exhibit shows new wireless technology – including 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT). (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Steve Siegel, CEO of the Siegel Group, speaks about helping families and other needy residents
Steve Siegel, CEO of the Siegel Group, speaks about helping families and other needy residents to keep them from teetering off into homelessness. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vrgas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Crowds camp out for Chick-fil-A opening
Dozens of customers camped out 24 hours ahead of the 6 a.m. Thursday opening of the new Chick-fil-A on Rainbow Blvd.
Cheapest listings for sale in Las Vegas
Listed for $39,990, 585 S. Royal Crest Circle, Unit #9 is one of the cheapest homes currently listed for sale in Las Vegas. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Terry Miller discusses Convention Center
Project Manager Terry Miller explains the phases of Convention Center construction.
Zappos treats their team members on Cyber Monday
Zappos rolls out a variety of food, drinks and special activities for all team members at their downtown Las Vegas headquarters for Cyber Monday. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Team Hybrid at the 2019-Model Motor Trend International Auto Show
Among the companies showing off the 2019 model cars, Team Hybrid shows off its modified cars. Las Vegas resident David David talks about the team, which is in its ninth year exhibiting at the show, and his show car.
Black Friday Shoppers at downtown Summerlin and at the Arsenal
Black Friday shoppers at downtown Summerlin and at the Arsenal. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfYe
Black Friday shopping in Las Vegas
Black Friday sale shopers express their shopping experience. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Las Vegas Livestock recycling Strip food waste
Las Vegas Livestock collects and recycles food from many Las Vegas Strip companies. (Nicole Raz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Black Friday at Fry's
Shoppers line up for deals early on Black Friday at Fry's Electronics on Las Vegas Boulevard South. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Black Friday shoppers at Best Buy at 5 am
Black Friday shoppers at Best Buy at 5 am on Nov. 23. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Black Friday - 1am Closing Time
Quiet night.
Black Friday - 12:30am - Best Buy Arroyo Crossing
Sam's Town Holiday Lighting Ceremony
On Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, Mystic Falls Park opened with its annual tree lighting ceremony, hosted by Boyd Gaming Executive Chairman Bill Boyd. The attraction features a Winter Wonderland theme and holiday-inspired laser light show, available daily Nov. 23 to Jan. 1. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What Is A Smart City?
George Karayannis, vice president of CityNow, Panasonic’s smart-city arm, explains. (Nicole Raz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Walmart uses virtual reality to train employees
Walmart Academy Facilitator demonstrates the VR training program being used by Walmart stores across the country.
With holidays around the corner, department stores hiring extra staff
J.C. Penny hired 72 seasonal workers this year at the Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson in order to handle the heavy traffic of the holiday shopping season. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Startup Weekend fosters new businesses
With the help of entrepreneurial peers and an expert panel of mentors, Techstars Startup Weekend fosters the ideas of attendees into marketable business plans. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mecum Car Auction in Las Vegas
The Mecum Auctions is held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Construction underway for new Google Data Center
Henderson is slated to be home to a new Google data center in December 2020. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development approved $25.2 million in tax abatements for Design LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google. The company plans to build the data center on 64 acres of land on Warm Springs Road west of Boulder Highway.
Anthony Rufo talks about his new product, an in-home digital companion and monitor.
Anthony Rufo talks about his new product, HAPPIE Home technology, an in-home digital companion and monitor designed for unpaid family caregivers that gives personalized alerts, messages and reminders. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Holiday parades help bring shoppers to Downtown Summerlin
Sports Town USA floor manager Angela Gardonio talks about the work that goes into the Downtown Summerlin holiday parades and how they benefit her and other businesses there.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like