Unemployment rate

The unemployment rate is a key measure of the health of local economies. A high unemployment rate is indicative of an economy in a recessionary state, while a low unemployment rate implies the economy is healthy or growing. A high rate of unemployment can have both personal and societal effects. During periods of unemployment, individuals are likely to feel severe economic strain and mental stress. High unemployment rates also place strain on social support systems.

Click "Change Filter" in the above chart to view unemployment rates prior to 2012.


Unemployment rate
in Clark County in 2017


Unemployment rate
in Nevada in 2017


Unemployment rate
in the U.S. in 2017

Declining unemployment rates

Southern Nevada's unemployment rate returned to near pre-recession levels in 2017. At just over 5 percent, the region's unemployment rate is at its lowest point of the past decade. Since 2012, the local unemployment rate has dropped nearly 120 percent (and more than 6 percentage points), from 11.3 percent to 5.3 percent.

How do we compare?

While Southern Nevada's unemployment rate has declined each year since 2010, it remains above the national average, and trails those of most of its Intermountain West peers (see charts below). The Reno metro area, whose unemployment rate has tracked closely with Southern Nevada's most of the past decade, saw its rate drop below the national average in 2017. Of the 388 metropolitan areas in the U.S., the Las Vegas metro area has remained in the bottom quarter in terms of unemployment rate during the past 5 years.

About the data

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics runs several programs that provide information about joblessness. The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program is a federal-state cooperative effort in which monthly estimates of total employment and unemployment are prepared for approximately 7,000 areas. Rates shown are a percentage of the labor force. Data refer to place of residence.

Unemployment is defined as those members of the total civilian labor force, ages 16 and over, that do not have a job, are available and willing to work, and are actively seeking employment. More detailed information can be found here.

To learn more about the unemployment rate in Southern Nevada or for additional information on the data presented above, contact Southern Nevada Strong.

Last updated: July 2018