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After going through the toughest recession in its history, Northern Nevada has seen its fair share of economic development victories. Here's a list of some of the major developments for the region in recent years. Wochit

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A decade after the toughest recession in the state’s history, Nevada jobless claims hit a 12-year low in February.

Unemployment claims statewide hit an annual average of 11,000 claims per month, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. The number of claims is the lowest that the state has seen since October 2006, which was right around the height of the real estate bubble.

Nevada’s positive numbers were fueled by the addition of 6,600 jobs in February. Although the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent, the new jobs brought up total employment in the state to more than 1.37 million.

“This is a very strong employment report,” said David Schmidt, DETR chief economist. “In addition to February’s job growth, new data through September 2017 … shows we continue to have the fastest private employment growth in the nation and have reached a new peak in full-time employment.”

A new high: Reno-Sparks median house price breaks 12-year-old record

Small business employment in Nevada also increased year-over-year for the 27th consecutive quarter, Schmidt added.

The news was welcomed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, who pointed out that the state has added around 11,000 jobs in the last two months. Sandoval, however, also sounded a cautionary note about the need to maintain the state’s job growth momentum.

“While I look forward to seeing this continue, we know there is still work to be done to ensure all Nevadans have the opportunity to gain employment,” Sandoval said in a statement.

After trying to attract practically any job it could get during the recession — when unemployment peaked at nearly 14 percent — Nevada is starting to focus more on job quality. The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, for example, has started advising companies interested in moving or expanding to Northern Nevada to either hit a higher average wage for employees or look elsewhere.

One key factor in EDAWN’s new approach is the rising cost of housing in the Reno-Sparks area, which has made the median single-family home unaffordable by the median household income in the region. Reno-Sparks is also seeing one of the fastest jumps in rent nationwide with near-zero vacancies. Job growth from companies such as Tesla as well as migration from states including neighboring California has been fueling the sudden growth in Reno-Sparks.

“Some people are stuck at pay where it was five years ago,” Mike Kazmierski, president and CEO of EDAWN, told the Reno Gazette-Journal last year. “In order to keep their talent, companies must have competitive wages, no question about it.”

 

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