Nevada unemployment rate hits record high, insert joke about failed stimulus here

Victor Joecks

Just another reminder that the Obama-Reid-Pelosi stimulus was and is an epic failure, especially here in Nevada.

The construction sector, restaurants and professional firms all added jobs in the month, but declines in Census jobs and other public-sector cuts offset that hiring to push statewide unemployment to an all-time high of 14.4 percent, the state Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation said this morning. That’s up from 14.3 percent in July and 12.5 percent in August 2009.

Thanks to seasonal hiring among resorts and other employers, joblessness in Clark County edged down to 14.7 percent, from a record 14.8 percent in August. Unemployment in Las Vegas came in at 13 percent in the same month a year ago.

I think one thing that’s often overlooked in discussing the unemployment rate in Nevada is the role our state’s ever-increasing minimum wage has had on increasing unemployment.

The employment department also emphasized the especially hard times younger workers are experiencing in the downturn. The jobless rate among workers 24 and under is nearly twice as high as overall unemployment.

Bill Anderson, the chief economist for Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation, attributes the high unemployment rate to older workers crowding out younger ones. No doubt this is a factor for some, but Nevada’s high minimum wage is also pricing many unskilled workers out of the job market.

There’s abundant national research [on the minimum wage] all right, but even liberal researches (who support increasing it) admit that increasing the minimum wage increases unemployment. And teenagers are increasingly feeling the effects of this misguided policy.

Add even more bad news about unemployment in Nevada: Unemployment taxes on businesses are expected to increase by almost $1 billion.