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Ed Vogel

Nevada Economy: Jobless Rate Slides in August

20 September 2004

CARSON CITY -- Unemployment in Nevada fell to 4 percent in August, the lowest rate in four years, the state reported Friday.

"Nevada's unemployment rate returned to a level not seen since before the national recession and the September 11 (2001) terrorist attacks," Gov. Kenny Guinn said in a statement. "The 8,000 jobs added in August provide additional evidence of the state's economic strength."

The August unemployment rate was down four-tenths of a percentage point from the 4.4 percent rate in August 2003.

The Las Vegas metropolitan area's rate also was 4 percent, down from 4.6 percent in July and a 5.5 percent rate in August 2003.

The greater Reno area's rate was just 3.2 percent, a drop from 3.8 percent in July and a 4.1 percent rate in August 2003.

The new statewide rate is much lower than the national 5.4 percent rate and a 5.8 percent rate in California.

Birgit Baker, director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said the number of unemployed workers in Nevada has dropped 24 percent in the last year, while the labor force has increased by more than 40,000 workers.

In August, 1,142,600 people were working in Nevada, while 45,900 people were looking for jobs.

Of the 46,000 additional jobs, 39,000 were created in Clark County.

Even rural Nevada, hit hard for several years by depressed gold prices, showed a rebound. The Elko area's August unemployment rate was just 3.5 percent, down from 4.9 percent a year ago.

More importantly, 1,000 more people were working this year in Elko than a year ago.

The construction industry led all business sectors, reporting 11,200 additional jobs this August compared with 2003.

The leisure and hospitality industry, which includes gaming, added 7,300 jobs.

Health and education businesses reported 4,100 additional jobs, while government added 3,200 workers.