The state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation report notes that the seasonally adjusted jobless rate is a full point higher than the national average for August, is up from a 6.6 percent rate in July and is up dramatically from 4.9 percent in August 2007.
The department’s chief economist, Bill Anderson, blamed the housing collapse, credit crisis and high energy costs. He also said travel costs are hurting tourism in tourist-dependent Nevada.
Anderson added that a continuing slump in the demand for goods and services due to falling disposable income also is adding to the unemployment problems. Two massive Las Vegas casino projects have stalled, and the state leads the nation in foreclosure rates.
The downturn has forced state and local governments to make massive cuts in services, and has some looking for new sources of tax revenue.
Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons issued a statement saying jobs for Nevadans must be preserved — and that higher taxes aren’t the answer because that “would just lead to more layoffs and hamper Nevada’s economic recovery.”
Total employment statewide during August was about 1.3 million. The 97,700 unemployed total is 51 percent higher than it was in August 2007.
A breakdown shows that in the Las Vegas area the August rate, which unlike the state rate isn’t seasonally adjusted, also hit 7.1 percent, up from 6.8 percent a month earlier. About 71,000 people were out of work while total employment amounted to about 932,200.
The Reno area had non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.6 percent in August, up from 6.5 percent a month earlier. About 15,600 people were out of work in the area, while total employment was just under 220,000.
The Carson City-area unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, up from 6.6 percent in July; and the rate in Elko and Eureka counties was 4 percent, up from 3.9 percent in the same period.