Nevada Again Tops Nation in Unemployment

Posted on: September 21, 2021, 02:06h. 

Last updated on: September 21, 2021, 02:36h.

For the second straight month, tourism-dependent Nevada led the nation in unemployment, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

One-Stop Career Center
Job seekers wait in line at a Las Vegas career center. Las Vegas leads the nation’s large metro areas in unemployment. (Image: Politico)

Nevada’s jobless rate in August was 7.7 percent. The next highest rates were in California and New York, at 7.5 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.

Nevada’s August rate was identical to the jobless total in July, when the state also led the nation in unemployment.  

David Schmidt, Nevada’s chief economist, said the August numbers provide a look at how the state’s “economy responded to the emergence of the delta variant.”

In the summer, 12 of 17 Nevada counties were determined to have high COVID-19 transmission rates. The emergence of the delta variant has added to concerns in Nevada about rising infections. Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) recently issued a directive stating that COVID-19 is a “statewide public health crisis.”

Given these issues, Nevada’s unemployment figure is likely to remain one of the highest in the nation, “reflecting the long road left to a complete recovery in the state’s labor market,” Schmidt said. 

Nebraska had the lowest jobless rate in August, at 2.2 percent. A total of 22 states had a jobless rate lower than the national average of 5.5 percent, while 13 states and Washington, D.C., had higher rates.

Las Vegas Joblessness Leads Nation

During two months this summer, Las Vegas led the nation’s large metropolitan areas in unemployment. This category includes 51 metro areas with a population of one million or more.

In June, 9.6 percent of the eligible Las Vegas workforce was unemployed. The jobless rate in July reached 9.4 percent. Both figures were the highest in the nation.

The Las Vegas metropolitan area includes the downtown casino district and resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. The largest hotel-casinos on the Strip are in Clark County, outside Las Vegas city limits. The Las Vegas metro area also includes Henderson, about 16 miles southeast of downtown Las Vegas.  

Las Vegas continues to lead the US in unemployment. But its single-digit rate is much lower than the nation-leading 34.2 percent jobless rate recorded last year in Las Vegas during an earlier stage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tourism Totals Going Up

As Nevada attempts to manage infection rates, tourism officials are working to attract visitors.

In Southern Nevada, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority recently released a television ad touting the region as a destination for sports fans. The ad does not show casino gambling or any gambling devices.

The number of tourists visiting Las Vegas is inching higher. However, the visitor volume is tracking well-below the record high of 42.9 million people who visited the city in pre-pandemic 2016. 

This year, fewer than three million visitors a month have arrived in Las Vegas during its busiest periods.