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Ed Vogel

Nevada Economy: Job Report Provides Optimism

22 June 2004

CARSON CITY -- Nevada's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped two-tenths of a percentage point to 4.1 percent in May, the state's lowest rate since August 2000.

"Every major labor market in the state achieved a multiyear low in unemployment in May," Gov. Kenny Guinn said Friday in a statement. "The steady decline in rates over the past year confirms the strength of Nevada's economy."

Between April and May, 8,200 additional jobs were created in the state, the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation announced Friday. In the past year, 47,600 new jobs have been added to the Nevada work force. The state's work force is growing at a 4.4 percent annual rate, compared with 1 percent nationally.

The jobs announcement came just hours before President Bush arrived in Reno for a re-election campaign stop. State Employment Security Division officials said it was coincidental the report was released the day of Bush's visit, the first by a president to Northern Nevada in seven years.

The statewide unemployment rate is far lower than the national rate, at 5.6 percent, and also much lower than the 5.4 percent Nevada rate in May 2003. Neighboring California had a 6.2 percent unemployment rate in May.

The unemployment rate for metropolitan Las Vegas in May was 3.7 percent, down from 5.0 percent a year ago, while the Reno unemployment rate was 3.3 percent, down from 4.1 percent in May 2003.

Carson City has a 4.5 percent unemployment rate, while the Elko rate is 3.6 percent.

Birgit Baker, director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said the number of unemployed people in Nevada has dropped by 23 percent in the past year.

"Nearly 13,000 fewer Nevadans are unemployed than in May 2003," she said.

In the past year, construction companies have added 11,300 new jobs; professional and business services, 7,900 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities, 7,800 jobs; leisure and hospitality, 6,800 jobs; and education and health, 4,300 jobs. Even the mining industry, once plagued by cutbacks because of low metal prices, has added 200 jobs in the past year.