The unemployment rate is a closely watched indicator of economic health across the country. It dips low when times are good and can skyrocket when times are bad. This up-and-down scenario is all too familiar in Nevada. During the state’s economic boom in the first half of the 2000s, the Silver State’s unemployment rate fell as low as 3.9 percent and consistently tracked about a full percentage point better than the national rate. That trend reversed during the Great Recession. As jobless numbers swelled nationwide, Nevada’s unemployment rate caught and then surpassed the national average. At the nation leading peak of 13.7 percent in November 2010, the state’s unemployment rate was more than four percentage points higher than the rest of the country.

As the state’s economy has recovered, that gap has closed and Nevada’s unemployment rate has dropped steadily to its lowest point since mid-2008. Up until January 2015, the unemployment rate had fallen 42 consecutive months. Yet through the first half of the year, the rate has hovered around 7.0 percent, and the 6.9 percent recorded in June ranked second-highest in the nation. This might suggest stagnation in the economic recovery after more than three years of steady improvement; however, the unemployment rate doesn’t tell the whole story of employment.

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