by McKenna Ross, Las Vegas Review Journal, May 19, 2022
The private sector continues to recover from major job losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, Nevada state officials said in a April employment report released Thursday.
The state added 5,200 jobs over the month to bring Nevada’s total number of jobs to about 1.45 million, officials with the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, or DETR, said in a news release. The unemployment rate stayed the same as March at 5 percent but marked a decrease of 3.6 percentage points compared with April 2021.
Gov. Steve Sisolak said the report is a sign that the private sector is fueling the state’s economic recovery.
“Today’s job numbers prove that Nevada is on the move,” Sisolak said in the release. “Nevada’s private sector business — big and small — are fueling our economic recovery by creating more jobs and opportunities for Nevadans. I look forward to reaching — and surpassing — our pre-pandemic levels of employment soon, and every State agency is focused on making sure Nevadans are set up for economic success.”
The Las Vegas area saw the fastest job growth in the state over the year and added the most jobs in April, compared with the metropolitan statistical areas of Reno and Carson City. Locally, 1,900 jobs were added since March, compared with 700 jobs in Reno and 300 jobs in Carson City.
Still, DETR economists say that employment remains below typical levels and there are still hurdles to full recovery in the state, including new COVID-19 variants and their potential impact on businesses and the labor force.
But April’s growth was fueled by several sectors’ hiring beyond pre-pandemic levels. Construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, financial activities, and education and health services all recovered more than 100 percent of their pre-pandemic levels, according to the state. Another top industry, leisure and hospitality, has recovered 90.5 percent of its pre-pandemic peak employment.
“In April, Nevada’s labor market continues to improve with private sector employment fully recovering this month, led by Nevada’s businesses,” said David Schmidt, DETR’s chief economist. “Total statewide employment continues to close in on its pre-pandemic peak as the public sector is yet to see a full recovery. Las Vegas saw the fastest job growth in the state over the year, and all three metro areas added jobs over the month.
“The unemployment rate, while higher than other states, is relatively low and is trending down,” he said. “Claims for unemployment benefits continue to remain at multi-decade lows this month. While the labor market still has room to improve, it continues to remain tight and trend in a positive direction.”
Nationally, the country added 428,000 nonfarm jobs in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate was 3.6 percent, unchanged from March. The figures remain close to national statistics prior to the pandemic’s onset, with February 2020 unemployment at 3.5 percent.
McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.