In January, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported the state unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent in December, continuing a steady decline from the recession high of 14 percent in 2010.
Recent jobs reports showed the state’s lowest unemployment rate and highest number of employers since 2008. Compounded with Las Vegas’ record number of visitors in 2014 and Nevada’s booming population, all signs point to a successful economic recovery. But there’s more to the story than what the numbers tell. As jobs return to the region, the Las Vegas that emerges will look different from the one that went into the recession.
The 6.8 percent accounts only for people actively looking for work. Factor in job seekers who have given up or can find only part-time work, and the state unemployment rate hovers around 15.3 percent. That broader measurement is still a vast improvement from 2010, when it included nearly a quarter of Nevada’s workforce. But experts say that ideally, it should be only a few percentage points higher than the rate for active job seekers.
In the short term, measurements like month-to-month job growth, job growth by industry and average weekly wage can provide clearer insights into the state of our economic health.