Nevada Unemployment Rate Rises To 13.7 Percent

EPI Warns of Consequences of Planned Minimum Wage Increase
  • Publication Date: May 2010

  • Topics: Minimum Wage

WASHINGTON – New data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that Nevada’s unemployment rate rose to 13.7 percent in April 2010 – the highest unemployment rate on record for the Silver State.

Nevada hasn’t seen a decrease in its unemployment rate since December 2005, when it dipped from 4.3 percent to 4.2 percent.

“While even hard-hit Michigan has seen their job losses moderate, Nevada’s employment situation remains bleak,” said Michael Saltsman, research fellow at the Employment Policies Institute. “This summer’s planned minimum wage increase to $8.25 will only make matters worse.”

Minimum wage hikes – like the 46 percent increase in Nevada’s minimum wage between January 2007 and July 2009 – raise the cost of hiring and training entry-level employees. In response, employers are reducing the number of low-wage jobs they offer, or gradually moving to automated, self-service systems.

One recent study from the University of New Hampshire found almost three-quarters of economists surveyed in agreement that more mandated wage hikes mean fewer entry-level jobs.

“Nevada’s actions fly in the face of the economic consensus that wage hikes are job-killers – especially for vulnerable low-wage workers,” Saltsman continued. “With the second highest unemployment rate in the nation, it’s time for Nevadans to re-evaluate the wisdom of automated increases in the state’s minimum wage.”