Nevada employers added 4,700 jobs last month with major improvement across leisure and hospitality industries, as more vaccinations and high capacity limits turbocharged the local economy’s recovery.
Employment accelerated in the Las Vegas metropolitan area last month, with 4,400 new jobs since February, according to the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. In Reno, employment had increased 700 jobs since February while Carson City saw its employment levels unchanged.
Still, Nevada hasn’t fully recovered since the pandemic-induced shutdowns ravaged the tourism-dependent state more than a year ago. Jobs remain below typical levels and are down 134,800 jobs since March 2020, for an annual decline of 9.4 percent.
Nevada’s unemployment rate in March is 8.1 percent, down from 8.4 percent in February but up 1.7 percentage points when compared with March 2020.
The jobs rebound in key sectors, such as hospitality, comes as more people are vaccinated against COVID-19, the state’s easing on capacity limits, and rising consumer confidence to dine, shop and travel. In March, Gov. Steve Sisolak bumped up capacity limits to 50 percent of occupancy levels for casinos and restaurants.
David Schmidt, DETR’s chief economist, said the positive job growth in the hospitality sector is an indication that local employers are seeing demand for travel.
“While there is still ongoing significant disruption highly concentrated in the Las Vegas area, the state is adding jobs back in businesses that cater to tourism which indicates firms in the state may be gearing up to capture the pent-up demand for travel and tourism worldwide,” Schmidt said Thursday in a news release.
Starting in early May, the state workforce agency will bring back jobless requirements for people who receive unemployment insurance benefits. Sisolak waived the requirements at the onset of the pandemic.
“The combination of increasing activity, relaxed restrictions, increasing vaccine availability, and the return of work search requirements on unemployment claims should be reflected in increased employment and economic activity as we head into the summer, though current employment levels still remain well below pre- pandemic level,” added Schmidt.