Elko County’s unemployment rate rose for the second consecutive month to reach 3.9 percent in July 2017. This coincides with three consecutive months of labor force growth through July, which reversed the downward trend of much of the past year. Despite the rising unemployment rate, Elko County is tied for the second-lowest rate in the state behind Eureka County’s 3.3 percent and is well below the state average of 5.1 percent. While rising unemployment rates are generally a negative sign for the economy, the recent elevation was attributable to an expanding labor force rather than job losses.

While employment has recorded modest growth, wages in Elko County have grown significantly, as total wages for the first quarter of 2017 increased 3.7 percent over the prior quarter and 13.8 percent over the prior year. Gross gaming revenues in the county also experienced significant growth. The $25.2 million in gross gaming revenue for July 2017 was 11 percent more than the county reported in June and 8.1 percent higher than the total from the previous July. Taxable retail sales also saw growth, albeit slightly more modest. The latest data available show that taxable retail sales totaled roughly $132.7 million in June 2017, 1.0 percent greater than the prior year. While many indicators have shown positive trends recently, the private business count in Elko County has been declining. The total fell to 1,296 during the first quarter of 2017, a decline of 3.5 percent from the prior quarter and 4.8 percent from the previous year.

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