Nevada’s construction industry continues to lead the state in the rate of job growth as the state added 4,700 jobs on a seasonally-adjusted basis, according to the latest employment report from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). Despite the employment increase, the state’s unemployment rate rose for the third straight month, to 6.5 percent.
Statewide, 75,300 workers were employed in construction, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, in July. This number is a drop of 200 from June of this year but a 5,500 job (7.9 percent) increase from July 2015. Since January of 2016 the industry has added a net total of 1,900 jobs.
Specialty Trade Contractors in the Silver State employed more than 56,000 workers in July. These businesses experienced a double-digit (10.2 percent) employment increase in the past year, though they shed 900 jobs in the month of July. Employment figures for Specialty Trade Contractors are not seasonally adjusted.
The rise in unemployment rate during times of job gains is puzzling to analysts.
Our expectations are that, once the annual benchmark (revision) process is complete in early-2017, updated estimates will likely show the opposite is more accurate, and that the unemployment rate is, in fact, trending down, as it has since 2011, alongside an improving employment situation.
In other good news from the DETR report, Nevada has paid down more than half of the amount due on the bond taken out to repay borrowing from the federal government to cover unemployment payments during the downturn. The magnitude of the downturn depleted the state’s unemployment reserves and Nevada was one of several states forced to borrow from federal funds to pay unemployment benefits during this time.
During the 2013 session the Nevada Legislature created a bond to repay the federal government. To satisfy the bond, the state assessed a temporary increase in unemployment insurance taxes on employers. Payments on the $325.6 million bond began in June 2014.