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March unemployment report released, early signs of COVID-19 impact

Posted at 2:30 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 17:30:14-04

According to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation’s (DETR) March 2020 economic report, employment in Nevada is down 4,900 jobs over the month but up 10,600 over the year, a growth rate of 0.8 percent. This marks the first time since August 2011 that Nevada has grown at a rate under one percent. The state’s unemployment rate is 6.3 percent this month, up 2.7 percentage point from February and up 2.2 percentage point when compared to last March.

DETR’s report also notes that Nevada’s Unemployment Insurance claims saw an increase of 199,482 claims, or 2,125 percent, from the same month a year ago. Initial claims are at an all-time high and are nearly six times the previous high set in December 2008, when the State saw 36,414 initial claims.

“This month’s report shows the earliest stages of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nevada’s economy. Even with a significant increase in unemployment and slowdown in employment growth, it is important to note that our employment and unemployment data is measured as of the week that includes the 12th day of each month. In March, that week was the week before the closure of non-essential business and government offices in Nevada, and so does not yet capture what has happened in the economy since then. Even so, the March unemployment rate was the highest it’s been in nearly 5 years and employment growth was the slowest it’s been in almost 9 years. When data for April is released next month, it will reflect the situation this week and we expect these trends will see significant declines. Unemployment insurance claims are at an all-time high and weekly claims and payments will continue to increase as further claims come into the system. As the situation continues to change, we’ll continue to focus on unemployment insurance activity, and will continue to post this information to our website, NevadaWorkforce.com ” said David Schmidt, Chief Economist for DETR.

Additional March Report Highlights:

  • Total employment rose by 0.8 percent over the year, growing at the low end of the range seen over the last year (0.8% - 3.1%).
  • Construction added the most jobs out of all sectors, for the 12-month period ending in March 2020, increasing by an average of 6,500 jobs over the same time in the year prior.
  • Nevada’s seasonally adjusted employment growth realized 111 consecutive months of year-over-year gains this month.
  • This marks the second time since July 2012 that Nevada has grown at a slower rate than the national average.
  • The unemployment rate is the highest it’s been since December 2015, nearly five years ago.
  • Initial claims are at an all-time high, totaling 208,869 in March.
  • Nevada is now ranked ninth in the country in terms of states with the largest percentage increase in unemployment claims from January to April 2020.