Unemployment rate*

Updated 3/31/20 – *Note that this measure is also a economic determinant of health

Job creation programs and workforce development impact job creation, while unemployment shows how many people are having difficulty getting jobs. Note that unemployment does not show people who are no longer looking for work or are underemployed. Recent improvement may be more related to seasonal holiday employment and increasing numbers of those no longer able to find work or collect unemployment. Seasonal retail jobs at close to minimum wage have limited long-term impact on the local economy.

The unemployment rate climbed steadily, beginning late 2007 through 2010. Double digit unemployment started in January 2009, and Nevada began the highest unemployment rate in the nation beginning May 2010, rising to 14.9%, until dropping below both California and Rhode Island in January 2013.  The national rate continues to decline; while the Reno-Sparks MSA dropped to 2008 levels beginning spring 2014, steadily dropping throughout 2015 to present, levels similar to pre-recession, and dropping below 4% in October 2017, and below 3% starting September 2019. It will be interesting to track if the lack of a skilled workforce pressures a rise in wages moving forward.

Gains in California will likely impact economic factors in Nevada (although California remains higher than our MSA). However, the question remains for the state—how many jobs need to be created in Nevada to spur our economy, especially in consideration of the number of individuals no longer looking for work, the large number of underemployed, population changes and new entrees to the job market? Furthermore, at what level must new jobs be created to stimulate the economy?  Telsa’s construction and operation will be a trade-off of some current jobs, but also add large numbers of jobs within a few years.  To stimulate the economy, higher wage jobs are needed.


  • MSA data prior to 2010 may not be comparable due to Bureau of Labor Statistics recalculations
  • *Reno-Sparks MSA=Washoe & Storey County;  Las Vegas-Paradise=Clark County
  • **Seasonally adjusted;  2010 US not adjusted


Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR);

US Bureau of Labor Statistics

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