The State With the Highest Jobless Rate

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that American unemployment is near a low point compared to any post-war period. The BLS’s employment report for February of 2023 puts the national jobless rate at 3.6%. One state has a much higher rate. In Nevada, the figure is at 5.5%, a sign that the economy in the state has not entirely recovered. (Here are the industries laying off the most workers.)

Across the country, the BLS reported, “Thirteen states had jobless rate increases from a year earlier, 10 states and the District had decreases, and 27 states had little change.” Several states had almost no people at all out of work. In North and South Dakota, the rate was only 2.1%. The number of individuals who were jobless was barely 10,000 in either state. This can be attributed to their small labor forces.

Nevada’s rate is so high because of the figure for Las Vegas, which has about half of the state’s population. The gaming industry never recovered completely from the COVID-19 pandemic. The high unemployment rate has started to spill over into the housing market. This, along with high interest rates, has started to lower the value of homes.

The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation tried to make the point that the numbers were not bad. David Schmidt, the department’s chief economist, said, “This report shows Nevada has recovered from the COVID recession and is continuing to add jobs at a brisk pace. Except for the leisure and hospitality industry, every sector of our economy employs more people than before the pandemic, and every single industry is showing growth over the past year. Our unemployment rate is high as is the total number of job openings in the state, reflecting an ongoing tight labor market.”

The figures show that Schmidt is wrong.

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