Construction Hiring Continues to Lead as Nevada’s Unemployment Rate Falls Again

Published on: December 15, 2016

Nevada’s construction industry continued its near double-digit year-over-year job growth as the state’s overall unemployment rate had its second consecutive 0.3 percentage point drop, according to the November employment report from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).

The report reveals average employment in the construction industry through the first 11 months of 2016 is 10 percent higher than during the same period last year, a gain of 7,000 jobs on a seasonally-adjusted basis. More than 80,000 Nevadans were employed in the construction industry in November.

Employment by Specialty Trade Contractors is up by more than double-digits (10.6 percent) compared to November 2015, according to DETR. There are 5,700 more people working for these companies than a year ago. In total nearly 60,000 Nevadans work in this subsector of the construction industry. Data for Specialty Trade Contractors is not seasonally adjusted.

Overall the state’s unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage points, to 5.2 percent, which DETR states is its lowest level since December 2007. In addition, November marked the first time total employment in Nevada topped 1.3 million as well as the 71st straight month of year-over-year job growth.

The DETR report also delves into data on housing starts for insight into the construction industry. Nevada’s housing starts peaked in early 2006 at about 4,000 per month, falling nearly 90% to about 500 per month at the depths of the downturn in 2010 and 2011. During this time “roughly 100,000 construction jobs were lost in Nevada,” according to DETR. Nevada’s recent recovery in housing starts has outpaced the nation.

Housing starts have been steadily gaining ground since the trough, and currently stand at about 1,300 per month, the highest level of activity since late-2008. About 25,000 jobs have been added back to construction payrolls. So far this year, housing starts are up by more than 25 percent, compared to a year ago. That contrasts to just a four percent gain in the nation as a whole. In fact, housing starts growth in Nevada has exceeded national growth in four of the past five years, typically by a rather wide margin.

Nevada’s governor weighed in on this month’s data.

“As 2016 nears an end, I’m encouraged by the significant progress our state has made as a result of our combined efforts these past six years,” said Governor Brian Sandoval. “The unemployment rate is moving toward 5 percent after peaking at nearly 14 percent in 2010. Unemployment insurance claims are at their lowest level in a decade, and wages and employment are at all-time highs. Looking forward, I’m excited about the direction that Nevada is heading and I remain committed to working with our business community to build a stronger and more resilient economy.”

The report also stated that Nevada’s year-over-year job gains have exceeded national rates for 52 consecutive months.

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