Nevada labor market expands by 2,600 jobs in May

The State of Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation Center is photographe ...

More Nevadans gained employment in May in a sign that the Silver State economy continues to rebound following the early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevada added 2,600 jobs in May, led largely by leisure and hospitality sector jobs, according to a monthly report released Thursday by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. Officials cautioned that employment still remains below typical levels but has recovered 96,300 jobs since May 2021.

“I’m pleased to see that Nevadans are continuing to find work and that the employment figures reflect a growing diversity of businesses in the state. We remain committed to helping Nevada’s workers and employers connect to keep building a more resilient state,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a news release.

Total employment in the state is 1,446,600, according to the report. The unemployment rate in May was 4.9 percent, a 0.1 percentage point decrease since April and a decline of 2.9 percentage points since May 2021.

Nevada’s annual employment growth rate has been the fastest in the nation, state economists said. The growth rate was more than two percentage points faster than Texas and Florida, tied for the next-highest rate, through April. Economists believe that trend will hold through May once the nation’s data is released.

“This growth is driven in part by a rebound in employment in the casino industry which realized significant gains late in 2021,” according to the report’s overview. “This growth is has led to Nevada as a state and Las Vegas as a metropolitan area outperforming other states during this time.”

Two out of Nevada’s three metropolitan statistical areas had employment growth in May. Las Vegas added 4,800 jobs. Reno added 800 jobs and Carson City lost 200 jobs.

Several industries saw significant gains in employment in May through hiring that put them above their pre-pandemic levels: manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; financial activities; and education and health services.

Leisure and hospitality stands at 90.9 percent of its pre-pandemic peak hiring. Total nonfarm employment in May was at 99.8 percent of its pre-pandemic peak.

“This report reflects Nevada’s ongoing transition from a recovery mode to economic expansion,” Chief Economist at DETR David Schmidt said in the release. “Most industries in the state and metropolitan areas now have more jobs than before the pandemic. For the first time, employment in the manufacturing industry in the Reno area has reached 30,000 jobs, up more than 14 percent compared to before the pandemic. The unemployment rate fell slightly, and the share of the population working or looking for work rose slightly to 60 percent.”

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.