Reno Job Seekers & Agencies See More Jobs - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Reno Job Seekers & Agencies See More Jobs

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Forrest McGee has just started his job search in Reno. He can tell he's picked a good time to find work. Standing in the lobby of a Reno employment agency, he told us he "sees more people who I knew didn't have jobs previously, they are working now. For me at least that's the positive feeling I get from the work environment out here."

Across town at another employment agency, Andelene Arbogast has the same optimism. Out of work now for 6 months, she's seeing a change. She told us, "From what I'm looking at, I'm seeing a few more positions, yes."

The state jobless rate just dropped to its lowest point in years. Nevada's unemployment rate dropped, from 8.95% in December to 8.7% in January. The state saw its 37th month of year-over-year job growth, and the number of jobs statewide returned to the 1.2 million mark for the first time since 2008. Pay is also rising. At Square 1 Solutions, staffer Johnny Skowronek told us it comes from "both companies moving here and companies that have been laying low for years. They're coming out of the woodwork right now."

Skowronek says times are good even in the field hit the hardest: construction. That has gone from zero to 60…so strong, it's bringing folks back home: "A lot of people are coming back to town after having left the area, and we're getting a lot of people coming back I haven't seen for 6 or 7 years." He definitely sees fewer clouds and more silver linings.

But 8.7% unemployment is still uncomfortably high, and even that number is deceiving. Those no longer looking for work are not counted as unemployed. At Reno's Apple One Employment Services, Lisa Beck told us the unreported unemployed are "dropping off. What's happening is, they're running out of unemployment, so they're not counted anymore."

But there are more jobs out there, and persistence is starting to pay off. In Lisa's view, employment really is ratcheting up. She says we are headed in the right direction…we're just not heading there fast enough for a lot of Nevadans: "A lot of employers are looking for the data entry skills, the software skills, and they're just not up to date on that."

For those who do have the skills, there is a lot more work to be found than before. As the job picture improves, employment agencies find it's also harder to find good workers, and when they do find them, they're more apt to turn it down for higher pay. At Apple One, jobless applicants are turning down work. Shannon Ryle at Apple One said, "We've had several of our candidates turn down the position after they accepted it and got a higher paying job."

At Square 1, Johnny Skowronek agrees: "From what I've been seeing, just about every employer across the board is hiring. Right now I think everybody's just kind of striking because the iron is certainly heating up."

Johnny, Shannon and Lisa also say…if you liked January's numbers, you'll love February's, coming out in less than 2 weeks. Job seeker Forrest McGee hopes to soon be one of the winners. As he told us, "You know, it's out there. You just have to put your foot to the pavement and get at it."

-written by John Potter

Nevada Job Connect is a statewide network that connects businesses with employees. They also provide a lot of help to job seekers for free. To learn more or to get in contact with them, click this link:

Governor Brian Sandoval today released the following statement on the Bureau of Labor Statistics report citing Nevada's 3.4% job growth as the strongest in the nation:

"Nevadans are resilient, and together we have made great strides in our ongoing effort to rebuild our economy and get Nevadans working again," said Governor Brian Sandoval.  "Over the past few years, we have increased our focus on job creation, economic development, and job training.  As a result of our efforts, Nevada's 3.4 percent job growth over the last year was the strongest in the nation.  While we continue to have positive economic news, there are still too many Nevadans out of work.  Growing jobs in Nevada will continue to be one of my highest priorities." 

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