Monday numbers from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation show the Silver State's jobless rate hit 9.1 percent in December, up from 5.2 percent in December 2007. State unemployment also posted a big month-over-month gain, rising 1 percentage point from November's 8.1 percent.
Clark County (Las Vegas) unemployment matched the state's, at 9.1 percent. That's up from 7.9 percent in November and 5.6 percent a year earlier. The nation's unemployment rate rests at 7.2 percent.
Bill Anderson, an economist with the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, called the jump between November and December an unusually large change.
"It reflects the rapid deterioration in the economy that started unfolding last fall," Anderson said.
Top among the culprits, said Anderson, is the housing market, with its high inventory of unsold existing homes and its falling median prices. Throw in stalled credit markets, which hamper business growth, and weak consumer spending, and voilá: Unemployment levels chase 25-year highs. Roughly 128,000 Nevadans were hunting for work in December, and first-time unemployment claims broke 36,000 -- the highest monthly total on record.
Break For Chart:
Las Vegas Unemployment data as extracted from the BLS on Jan 27th 2009. Note: Though spiking upwards, these numbers are severely understated through the use of U-3 data - Click here for more info: Unemployment Rate Reality
Bottom line: Doubling the stated figures below will bring you much closer to the real unemployment rate truth.
Back to Article Snippets:
"The latest figures reflect fundamentals in the market as they exist today, and the expectation is that conditions could continue to erode over the next couple of quarters," said Brian Gordon, a principal in local research firm Applied Analysis.
Fallout from the sluggish holiday retail season, combined with high-profile failures among national retailers including Mervyns, Linens-N-Things and Circuit City, won't show up in jobless data until statistics from early 2009 come out, Gordon noted.
He added that he wouldn't be surprised to see Nevada's jobless rate surpass 10 percent in 2009. Its record unemployment rate is 10.7 percent, set in December 1982.
It's all unfolding as I previously forecasted: The Las Vegas gravy train has ended