Improvement expected in Nevada's employment outlook
Job projections are below pre-recession peak
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 5:00 PM
CARSON CITY - Employment in Nevada is projected to increase by 2 percent or 23,000 jobs in 2013, and the state is expected to gain another 26,000 jobs in 2014 and 30,000 jobs in 2015, according to a report released by the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation's (DETR) Research and Analysis Bureau.
However, employment will likely remain below the peak levels achieved in 2007 for several more years, said Bill Anderson, DETR's chief economist.
"To put this in perspective, Nevada lost almost 200,000 jobs from peak to trough, 100,000 of which were construction jobs," Anderson said. "In 2006, at peak levels of employment, construction represented 11.2 percent of the total workforce. In 2012, that share stood at 4.6 percent."
Construction is projected to see some growth over the next few years, with a gain of 4,600 jobs in 2013. It is expected to add 4,900 and 6,000 jobs in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
However, in 2015, construction jobs will still be 75,000 below the pre-recession peak, Anderson said. While the state has been steadily adding jobs, a return to the construction-driven boom years is not likely, Anderson added.
In 2011, the Nevada economy created 6,800 jobs, a 0.6 percent increase. In 2012, employment grew 1.5 percent, or 17,100 jobs. Though job gains have accelerated, employment in the first quarter of 2013 (the most recent available quarter) is still 12 percent below the peak level attained in the second quarter of 2007, a difference of 155,000 jobs.
"Arguably, the more modest and diversified growth we expect to see going forward will leave the state better positioned to weather future economic downturns," Anderson said.
Another industry projected to show improvement is hospitality, with expected gains of 2,800 jobs in 2013, 3,900 jobs in 2014 and another 5,200 jobs in 2015.
Nevada has a long history of mining and it still continues to be a key contributor to the state's economy, although it is a major industry only in rural Nevada.
Gold dominates Nevada's mining base and the price of gold is an important determinant of mining employment. For a decade leading up to last year, Nevada has experienced a modern-day gold rush fueled by rising gold prices, benefiting rural mining communities.
Gold prices have come down from their all-time high reached in the fall of 2011. Lately, employment growth in the mining industry has been increasing at a slower pace, a trend most likely to continue. The current forecast is estimating 400 additional jobs in 2013 and an additional 400 by the end of year 2015.
Agriculture is a significant part of rural Nevada. Nevada does not have much employment in forestry, fishing and hunting, so the industry is mainly driven by agriculture. Nevada's agricultural production is primarily focused in livestock and alfalfa hay production. The outlook for the industry is expected to remain relatively flat (after taking into account normal seasonal fluctuations) through the end of 2015.
All told, 2015 job levels are projected to stand 78,300 higher than in 2012, with contributions from nearly every sector of the economy.