Nye County saw its unemployment rates drop slightly in July, but they are still barely above the lowest mark of the year.
July had an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent, which is down from January’s year high of 9.4 percent but trailing the lowest point of the year in May at 8.4 percent. June had an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent.
July had a labor force of 16,425, of which 14,993 had jobs, with 1,432 being unemployed.
“I think we feel some optimism in the business climate,” said Salli Kerr, Pahrump Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer. “It feels like even at this point if it’s not completely turned around yet, people are optimistic that it’s going to.
“We’re seeing some construction going back on, we’re hearing some of our contractors that really haven’t done a lot are opening offices back up. It just feels like even if we are not 100 percent recovered that we have come off the bottom.”
The unemployment rate is significantly lower than it was in 2011, where the rate was almost double what it is now at 17 percent.
The amount of residents that are unemployed has steadily dropped since then, falling to 15 percent in 2012, 12 percent in 2013 and 10 percent in 2014.
Kerr said that with the ever-recovering economy that businesses have been opening steadily every month this year. Through August, there have been 168 new business licenses issued, with 16 added in August.
“I know that we’re opening between 18 and 24 new businesses per month,” Kerr said. “I can’t imagine that that many are closing a month.”
Kerr said she anticipates the positive momentum to continue as she thinks the morale of the area will keep the business climate in a healthy state.
“I think people are really optimistic,” she said. “If I base it just on things I have on my desk that I’m working, the idea that we sold out the park of 170 vendors for Fall Festival, means to me that people are feeling pretty optimistic.”
Despite the unemployment rate being down for the year, the taxable sales in Nye County are much lower than in 2014. At the end of the fiscal year in June, total taxable sales in Nye County reached about $498 million, compared to 2014’s number of around $625 million.
The number is a little misleading however, as the heavy and civil engineering construction sector saw a huge decrease from 2014, as the building of the 110-megawatt SolarReserve solar plant near Tonopah last year helped bump up the taxable sales 91 percent. In 2014 there was $136.72 million in taxable sales in the section, with just $12.5 million this year.
Overall, Nevada had an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent in July, with around 1.4 million people in the workforce, with 1.34 million of those with jobs and 99,246 that are unemployed. The unemployment rate is down from January statewide as it was at 7.6 percent in January.
Nevada as a whole also saw an increase in its taxable sales going from $4.15 million in June 2014 to $4.45 million in June of this year, making for a 7.1 percent increase. For the year taxable sales are also up, as up to the end of June last year there were $47.44 billion in sales which rose 6.1 percent this year at $50.35 billion through the end of June.