Nevada's official unemployment rate is at 10.2%. It's down quite a bit from the high we hit in October 2010: 14%. But even though the job market has made good progress, there's a troubling new breakdown of just how many need a full time job in the Silver State…a more detailed analysis of just how dire our employment situation is. Consider...20.3% unemployment.
The "U-6 rate" includes the workers who stopped looking for jobs, and the underemployed part-timers who would prefer full-time work. As for that 10.2% rate, that only counts unemployed people who are actively looking for work. Both rates are determined by phone surveys.
Tom Miller is in the hiring business. The director of staffing and recruiting at applied staffing services told us, "That underemployed number magnifies everything by 1 to 2 times. There are a lot of people who have been forced into the part-time market who are looking for something to fill that 40-hour void, or to get back to full-time. Yes, there are a lot of people out there."
The more complete U-6 rate uncovers the shadow supply of jobless workers who don't really show up in the usual numbers, but are there nonetheless. And it says the state's recovery still has a long way to go.
Searching for job openings at Reno's Nevada Job Connect office, Georganne Soto told us, "I haven't been able to find a job, not even part-time." Georganne has been out of a job for over a year now. How many doors has she knocked on since? "At least a hundred. Part-time, full-time…I've been to interviews. But no."
At least that 20.3% U-6 unemployment rate, as high as it is, is dropping too. In the fourth quarter of 2011, it was 23.3%, peaking at 23.7% in the first quarter. The official rate also fell to 10.2% in December, down from 13% the December before. At Applied Staffing Solutions, Tom sees a big uptick too, and says January was "great for us. We're up in our clerical market. Hospitality projects have come our way, we've been successful with that."
News like that keeps Amanda Mendez Dean going, even though she's applied for dozens of jobs. "The last couple of months I've sent about 70 job applications. I had one interview."
People like Amanda, and Georganne, are waiting for the real comeback. As Amanda put it, "I'm hoping for the best...and seeing what comes next."
Friday morning we get an even better idea. That's when the U.S. unemployment rate for January is released. Nevada's unemployment rate for January comes out on March 15th.
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