- Associated Press - Friday, April 18, 2014

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada’s jobless rate held steady in March at 8.5 percent, the same as the month before, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported Friday.

But the report noted that the March unemployment rate is down from 10.2 percent for the same month in 2013.

The state saw a seasonally adjusted gain of 4,700 jobs in March, as private employers added 5,100 jobs while 400 were cut from the public sector.

In March, the state’s job base grew 3.8 percent over the previous year and for the last 20 months has grown at a faster pace than the nation, said Bill Anderson, Nevada’s chief economist.

“Nevada’s labor force has been trending up in 2014,” Anderson said.

He noted Nevada’s labor force has grown by 16,100 since December and the March readings were up 2,700 from the same month in 2013, marking the first yearly increase since April 2011.

“Nevada continues to show indication that its economy is moving in the right direction,” Anderson said.

Still, 117,000 Nevadans remained out of work last month, and Nevada continues to have one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. Nationally, the March jobless rate was 6.7 percent.

Friday’s report did not include localized rates for regions in the state. Those will be released next week. But the report noted Las Vegas added 3,100 over the month, while the Reno-Sparks area gained 200. Carson City’s job numbers remained flat.

Anderson projected Nevada will add about 61,000 jobs through 2015, with the fastest growth coming in the service sector, construction and retail trade.

“Together these three industries are expected to account for over 55 percent, nearly 34,000, of all new jobs during this period,” Anderson said in his report.

Leisure and hospitality is a key indicator on the health of Nevada’s vital tourism industry. The state’s largest “super sector” saw an increase of 1,700 jobs in March through February. Most of those gains were at bars and restaurants.

Construction, an industry hard hit during the recession when Nevada’s housing market collapsed, has been rebounding slowly, though 700 jobs were lost in March. But Anderson said construction experienced the largest increase of any super sector with a growth rate of nearly 12 percent compared to the first quarter of last year.

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