The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to subside in March 2021 as vaccination rates have risen and cases have fallen from winter highs. Signs of an economy in recovery were evident in the state’s employment numbers, which were aided by an increase in capacity gatherings to 50 percent during the month.

The state’s workforce added 9,200 jobs during the month, a modest 0.7 percent gain over February 2021. Total statewide employment of 1.29 million remained 135,500 jobs, or 9.5 percent, below levels in March 2020 just as the first domestic impacts of the pandemic began to materialize. Of the jobs gained in March 2021, nearly half, or 4,200, were added in the leisure and hospitality sector as the industry benefitted from business operating capacities rising to 50 percent during the month. While the recent growth trend is positive for the state’s hardest-hit industry, the sector’s employment remained 101,400 jobs short of prior year levels, accounting for 75 percent of the state’s continued job losses compared to a year earlier.

Statewide job gains edged Nevada’s unemployment rate down to 7.6 percent in March 2021, a decline from the 8.0 percent of the previous month. The unemployment rate for the
month remained elevated from the 6.7 percent of the prior year and ranked Nevada with the sixth-highest unemployment rate in the nation. Continued claims for unemployment benefits dipped through March and into April in a sign that more Nevadans are returning to work. From the end of February 2021 through mid- April, continued unemployment claims for all state and federal programs combined dropped by 20 percent from 291,000 to 233,400, the lowest weekly total since the first wave of pandemic-related layoffs in mid-March 2020.

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