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Las Vegas’ unemployment rate much higher than other parts of Nevada

Updated September 23, 2020 - 4:23 am

Las Vegas’ jobless rate inched lower last month but remains far higher than in other parts of Nevada, state officials reported, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the valley’s casino-heavy economy.

An estimated 15.5 percent of the Las Vegas area’s workforce was unemployed in August, down from 16.6 percent in July, according to a report Tuesday from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

Employment has climbed statewide for four consecutive months, but compared with other parts of Nevada, Las Vegas is seeing “the slowest rebound in jobs” and has the highest unemployment rate in the state, DETR chief economist David Schmidt said in a news release.

By comparison, Nye County’s unemployment rate was 9.6 percent last month, Reno’s was 7.2 percent and Elko’s was 4.7 percent, the department reported. Nationwide, the jobless rate was above 8 percent last month.

The bulk of Nevada’s population lives in the Las Vegas area, where tourism, an industry hit especially hard by the fallout from the pandemic, fuels the economy.

Las Vegas’ jobless rate, just 3.9 percent in February, skyrocketed to 34 percent in April after fears of the coronavirus outbreak turned the Strip into a ghost town of shuttered resorts.

The valley’s unemployment rate has since tumbled as casinos and other businesses were allowed to reopen from state-ordered closures. But with the pandemic still raging in the U.S., some resorts remain closed in Southern Nevada, and visitor totals are still far below year-ago levels.

More than 1.4 million people visited Las Vegas in July, down 61 percent from the same month last year, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported.

Overall, the Las Vegas area has shed 127,400 jobs since August 2019, according to seasonally adjusted figures from DETR, which on Tuesday noted “the extreme impact” the pandemic’s shutdowns have had on the valley’s tourism industry.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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