Nevada unemployment hits 13.2 percent, sets record

Unemployment continues to set records in Nevada and Las Vegas, and experts forecast higher joblessness in coming months even as the city’s biggest resort begins hiring Monday.

Unemployment has spiked nearly a percentage point statewide, jumping from 12.5 percent in July to 13.2 percent in August, the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation said today. August’s statewide unemployment rate was nearly triple the level at the recession’s beginning in December 2007, when joblessness clocked in at 5.2 percent.

Unemployment in Las Vegas rose from 13.1 percent to 13.4 percent from July to August. The nation’s unemployment went from 9.4 percent to 9.7 percent.

“The economic climate in Nevada continues to be challenged,” said Brian Gordon, a principal in local research firm Applied Analysis. “The latest lagging indicator suggests that conditions are eroding further rather than experiencing any stabilization.”

That’s because consumers nationwide continue to hoard their cash, said Keith Schwer, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Though Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that the national recession is “very likely over,” consumers remain concerned about their personal finances. Saving and paying down debt have supplanted the free-spending habits of yore, as Americans prepare for sustained hard times.

“This is a deep recession nationally, and we’re dependent on people spending their money here,” Schwer said. “Generally, people are taking a more conservative view in terms of their money.”

The employment department’s published rate isn’t a complete accounting of joblessness. The numbers come mostly from surveys of households and businesses. They don’t include discouraged residents who’ve quit seeking work, nor do they account for underemployed workers who can find only part-time jobs. In the second quarter, those statistics showed a 12-month average of 15.2 percent joblessness in Nevada. A state economist said in August that current overall numbers likely run close to 20 percent, and Schwer agreed with that analysis.

Officially, 183,000 Nevadans were out of work and actively hunting for jobs in August. In Las Vegas, 135,100 residents were unemployed. The state has lost 84,400 jobs in the last year, including 31,000 construction jobs — more than a quarter of the sector’s work force — and 24,000 jobs in leisure and hospitality. Government employment dropped by 3,500.

Only the combined category of education and health services managed to add workers, with 1,400 new jobs on the payroll year-over-year in August.

Las Vegas employers slashed 60,400 jobs in the year, with two-thirds of those losses coming in construction and leisure. The loss of hospitality jobs could moderate soon.

MGM Mirage plans to extend its first job offers Monday to applicants seeking positions at the company’s CityCenter. The Strip resort, which begins opening in December, will employ about 12,000 workers, though 9,000 construction workers will lose their jobs as building wraps up.

“The net impact will be somewhat modest in the big picture, but it’s very important for those who are able to obtain employment as a result of that project,” Gordon said.

Don’t count on stabilized job losses overall in 2009, because layoffs are a lagging indicator that take a year on average to turn around after a recession ends, Schwer said.

The employment department put together a peak-jobless estimate of 13.7 percent to plan for replenishing the nearly empty unemployment trust fund that pays for workers’ jobless benefits. Anderson said the department continues to revise that number and will have a firmer figure in October.

Schwer said joblesses could reach 14 percent, while Gordon said a high of 15 percent is possible. Joblessness should stabilize in 2010, and growth should return to the Silver State in 2011, Anderson said. But don’t expect the 6 percent annual job growth Nevada enjoyed from 2004 to 2006. State economists forecast an expansion rate of about half that number, at 3 percent a year.

“Once we do emerge into recovery, Nevada will once again perform at a rate quite respectable relative to the nation as a whole,” Anderson said.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at or 702-380-4512.

News Videos
Syphilis Awareness Day
Dr. Joe Iser, District Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District, discusses the effects and issues with syphilis in the Las Vegas community on April 16, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas diocese IDs 33 ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse
The Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas released a list on Friday of 33 “credibly accused” of sexual abuse who at some point served in the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CCSD Arbor View meeting
The Clark County School Board hears from the public about racial tensions at Arbor View High School on Thursday, April 11, 2019. (Amelia Park-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Parents of autistic student battle Clark County School District
Joshua and Britten Wahrer, parents of a special education student, are battling the Clark County School District for the right to equip their son with a monitoring device. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Metro homeless outreach a shift in strategy
Lt. Joe Sobrio discusses the new homeless outreach team for Metro. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prayer for Opportunity Scholarships
Las Vegas students and adults hold a prayer meeting about the Opportunity Scholarship program on Thursday, April 4, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Solar scams on the rise in Nevada
As Nevada’s solar industry has made a resurgence, solar scammers have followed suit.
Clark County schools and the late bus issue
Year after year, late or no-show buses in the Clark County School District draw the ire of parents and students alike. One year the problem even prompted a parent to crack a school bus window in frustration over a late drop-off. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
I-15 southbound congested near Primm Sunday afternoon
Drivers heading toward California on Interstate 15 should expect heavy traffic and a 13-mile backup Sunday afternoon.
Learning lifesaving skills in advance of fire season
Students and firefighters attend a training session at Fire Station 80 in Blue Diamond, Saturday, March 30, 2019. The training session helps volunteer firefighters obtain necessary annual certification to work wild fires.
Car restoration behind prison walls
Inmates share their experiences working for the Southern Desert Correctional Center auto body shop in Indian Springs while learning valuable skills.
Parent remembers Las Vegas boy killed by car
People visit a memorial at the intersection of South Fort Apache Road and West Arby Avenue at at Faiss Park Wednesday, March 27, 2019, where Jonathan Smith, 12, of Las Vegas, died after he was struck while crossing Fort Apache Monday. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Couple left with surprise medical bills after visit to the hospital
Michael Pistiner took his wife, Marta Menendez-Pistiner, to the ER in January after she fainted twice and appeared to be having a seizure. Despite paying $856 monthly for health insurance, the two, self-employed musicians, were stuck with more than $5,700 in hospital and doctor bills after than hour-and-a-half visit. Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Las Vegas police brief the media on fatal crash
Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Nick Farese addresses the media about a car accident at South Fort Apache Road and West Arby Avenue that left one minor dead and one hospitalized on Monday, March 25, 2019. (Mike Shoro/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Arbor View parent talks about racial issues at the school
Lawanna Calhoun, a former Arbor View parent, talks about the state of the school. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jim Foley talks about 30 years of living HIV-positive
Jim Foley, who was diagnosed as HIV positive 30 years ago, talks at his home in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Traffic Slows to a Crawl on I-15S Near Primm
Traffic slowed to a crawl around 2:30p Sunday, on I-15S near Primm, Nevada.
Homeless residents speak about safety
The homeless residents living at the corner of Owens Ave. and Main St. reflect on how they feel about their safety after two homeless men died, one was hit crossing the street and another was beat to death by another homeless man. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
CCSD Superintendent address alleged racially motivated threats at Arbor View
CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara gives update on alleged racially motivated threats against Arbor View High School, and says such threats will not be tolerated. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Super Bloom Near Lake Elsinore, California
Crowds packed the hills near Lake Elsinore on Saturday to capture a rare selfie amidst the super bloom of poppies turning the landscape purple. The super bloom was caused by the larger rainfall this year. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fiery accident in Las Vegas
A three-car accident on Spring Mountain Road around 6:30 pm on Monday night
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Stardust implosion anniversary
Twelve years ago today, the Stardust Resort and Casino was imploded. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Lawsuits filed against security contractors at Nevada National Security Site
Two lawsuits were filed today against the current and former government security contractors for the Nevada National Security Site, one on behalf of Jennifer Glover who alleges sexual discrimination and assault and the other on behalf of Gus Redding who alleges retaliation after he gave statements supporting Glover’s claims. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New housing option helps Las Vegas moms keep kids while kicking drugs
WestCare Nevada Women and Children’s Campus in Las Vegas has added a new transitional housing wing for women who have completed the inpatient treatment at the behavioral health nonprofit to help them as they go through outpatient treatment, shore up their finances and prepare to secure long-term housing. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Teenager in critical condition after being struck by an SUV in Henderson
Authorities were called about 2:45 p.m. to the scene in the 2100 block of Olympic Avenue, near Green Valley Parkway and Sunset Road. The teenager was taken to University Medical Center in critical condition. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Water Question Part 3: Conservation loves a crisis
Future growth in the Las Vegas Valley will rest almost entirely on the community’s ability to conserve its finite share of the Colorado River.
The Water Question Part 7: How much can we grow?
Many experts agree that Southern Nevada can continue to grow, so long as residents are willing to do what needs to be done to stretch our crucial resource as far as it will go.
The Water Question Part 6: How many people can Southern Nevada’s water sustain?
The number can swing wildly depending on a host of variables, including the community’s rates of growth, conservation efforts and the severity of drought on the Colorado River.
Mylar Balloon Demo
NV Energy presented a demonstration Wednesday to depict the damage that can be caused by the release of Mylar balloons.
Home Front Page Footer Listing