Nevada’s unemployment rate dropped to its lowest rate in almost six years in June and the construction industry once again had the highest rate of year-over-year job growth of any in the state, according to the latest employment report from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. Nevada’s jobless rate fell two percentage points to 7.7% as 5,300 jobs were added on a seasonally-adjusted basis.
Construction employment grew by 10.5% compared to June 2013, the highest rate of any industry as 5,900 jobs were added during this period. However, the industry lost 800 jobs in the month of June, according to the DETR’s seasonally-adjusted calculations, which indicate 62,100 are employed in construction. The report notes,
The upturn in construction employment has coincided with a pickup in housing starts in Nevada, although some perspective is necessary. Prior to the recession, starts peaked at average annual levels of nearly 50,000. As Nevada’s housing sector unraveled, annualized starts tumbled to nearly 5,000. Since then, activity has more than doubled, but at 11,000 annualized starts of late, recent trends fall well short of our boom results, which is arguably a good thing.
Employment by Specialty Trade Contractors increased by 200 in June, although it is down 2.0%, or 800 jobs, from the level of June 2013.
In Clark County, construction employment increased by 2,400, or 5.9%, since June 2013 and the industry added 800 jobs in June. Employment by Specialty Trade Contractors in Clark County was up 400 in June but has declined by 5.1% since June 2013.
Washoe and Storey Counties added 300 construction jobs in the last year, an increase of 2.9%, though the industry lost 200 jobs in May.
County and Specialty Trade Contractor totals are not seasonally-adjusted. The construction industry actually added 900 jobs during June before the seasonal adjustment by DETR was made. However, the department expected 1,700 jobs to be added by the industry during the month so, after the seasonal adjustment, the industry appeared to lose 800 jobs in June.
The DETR noted that job levels are trending about 40,000 higher in 2014 than last year. If this trend continues, added to gains over the last few years, the department expects that Nevada will have added 100,000 jobs from 2010-2014. Because of the massive recession-era job losses in the state that would still put us below, at about 95% of, the state’s peak employment prior to the recession.
The report also revealed other information about the state’s employment picture that was not so rosy. Even as the employment picture has brightened, the number of people leaving the labor force has continued to climb.
Since 2012, Nevada’s non-seasonally adjusted labor force has fallen on a year-over-year basis in 28 of the past 30 months. Through the first six months of the year, Nevada’s labor force is down 3,600 individuals, (-0.3 percent).
The state’s boom-and-bust employment cycle continues. Nevada led the nation in employment growth in 2004 and 2005 but had the slowest growth of any state in 2009 and 2010. In 2013 the state was among the 12 fastest-growing in terms of employment.
Though employment in Nevada looks to remain below its prerecession level, at least through the end of this year, by some other measures the state is close to reaching, or exceeding, the peak. On a nominal basis (before adjusting for inflation) average state personal income in 2013 was at its highest level ever and Gross State Product for the year was just 0.1% below its prerecession peak.