Nevada’s unemployment rate inched up for the second straight month despite the highest monthly job gain in more than a decade and construction maintains its lead in year-over-year job growth rate in the Silver State according to the latest monthly employment report from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).
Average employment in the construction industry, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, during the first six months of 2016 is 6,300 higher than the average during the first half of 2015. This represents a 9.5% gain, the highest among any of the 10 supersectors tracked by DETR.
Construction suffered a seasonally-adjusted loss of 4,000 jobs in June but employment in the industry is still 6,000 higher than during June 2015. Specialty Trade Contractors in Nevada added 700 jobs in June and employ 6,200 more workers than a year ago, a gain of 12.3%. Figures for Specialty Trade Contractors are not seasonally-adjusted.
Overall, Nevada gained a seasonally-adjusted 7,500 jobs in June, the highest total for any single month in nearly 11 years. However, the unemployment rate in the Silver State rose from 6.1% to 6.3% during the month, the second consecutive month the rate has increased. In addition to the job gains in June, DETR’s seasonally-adjusted employment numbers for May were adjusted up by 2,800.
The DETR report contains a lengthy discussion of employment conditions in construction over the last decade. During the economic downturn the industry lost nearly 2 of every 3 jobs that existed at the peak during 2007, a total of almost 100,000 job losses.
While overall Nevada has regained all but about 9,000 of the 186,000 jobs lost during the downturn, employment in the construction industry remains off by nearly 50,000, despite leading the state in job growth rate for much of the last few years.
The 25,000 job increase in the construction sector since the recessionary trough has been relatively widespread. Specifically, eight industries have realized gains of over 1,000 jobs since 2012. The three industries that have experienced the largest growth in employment are electrical contractors (4,000), plumbing/heating/air conditioning contractors (2,000), and drywall/insulation contractors (1,900). All told, of the 31 construction industries for which information is available, all but three have increased job levels since 2012.
At the height of the recession, more than 650 construction establishments closed per quarter and job losses due to business closings in the construction industry reached 2,700 during the final quarter of 2008. In the third quarter of 2015, the last for which DETR supplies data, construction establishment closings totaled 220, one-third less than the prior quarter. The third quarter closings accounted for 590 job losses, down from 1,040 the previous quarter.
Overall employment growth in the Silver State relative to other states has improved dramatically since 2009, according to the DETR report. While Nevada’s job loss rates of 10.1% and 2.8% in 2009 and 2010, respectively, were worst in the nation, the Silver State’s growth rate accelerated past most other states.
Nevada’s job growth rate increased from 37th-best (1.2% growth) in 2011 to 27th (1.9%) to 13th (2.7%) to 2nd in 2014 (4.0%). In 2015, the state’s 3.8% overall private sector job growth placed it 3rd in the nation, behind Florida and Utah.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval weighed in on this month’s DETR employment report.
“Nevada has almost added back all of the jobs lost during the recession,” said Governor Brian Sandoval. “June’s monthly job gain was the strongest since late-2005. At the same time, the fact that unemployment remains stubbornly high reminds us that more work remains to be done to ensure a solid future for all Nevadans.”