Nevada’s unemployment rate fell to 8.8% in December 2013, its lowest level since November 2008, according to the latest monthly jobs report from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). The average unemployment rate for the year fell to 9.4% from 11.1% in 2012 and the December rate was down from 9.0% in November 2013.
The report touts a recovery in construction and other industries that were hard-hit by the recession.
In 2013, the construction and financial activities industries finally turned the corner after six consecutive years of decline, building activity returned to the Strip, and home prices rebounded at astonishingly high rates, up by over 20 percent in both the northern and southern metro areas.
The data on the construction industry is mixed. Looking at 2013 overall shows a much more positive picture than comparisons of the single month of December 2013 to December 2012.
While overall the state added 21,400 jobs from December 2012 to December 2013, employment in the construction industry fell by 900, according to the report, to 54,600 from 55,500 in December 2012, on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Further, non-seasonally-adjusted employment among Specialty Trade Contractors declined by more than 10% from December 2012 to December 2013. Seasonally-adjusted figures for specialty trade contractor employment are not available in the report.
However, average employment in construction in 2013 was 53,000, a more than 7% increase over the average of 2012. Construction employment in nine of the twelve months of 2012 was below 50,000 while every month in 2013 was above 50,000.
Another bit of data to remember is that the final construction employment numbers for December 2012 received a significant adjustment from their initial release. The figure for construction alone was adjusted up by nearly 5,000 jobs. It is possible the current number for December 2013 may be adjusted this year as well. According to the report,
Preliminary figures suggest that another 18,900 private sector positions were created during the past calendar year. [DETR chief economist Bill] Anderson said that number is expected to rise during the annual revision process in the coming weeks.
In Clark County construction fell 8.4% (39,500 to 36,200) from December 2013 to December 2012, with employment by specialty trade contractors dropping 15.8% (from 28,500 to 24,000). Among the sub-categories, building foundation & exterior contractors jobs were down 1.7% (from 5,900 to 5,800) and employment by building finishing contractors fell 12.0% (from 7,500 to 6,600) in December 2013 compared to December 2012.
In the Reno-Sparks area construction employment increased 3.3% (9,000 to 9,300) from December 2012 to December 2013. The report did not break down the construction employment figures further for this area.