The ‘restructuring’ of Nevada’s labor market, economists say

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Michelle Boyce recently left her job as a career development specialist for Tech Impact, a Las Vegas nonprofit that helps young adults learn job skills and find jobs. She began casually looking for a job this summer and eventually took a job as an account manager with Las Vegas-based IT recruiting firm Taurean Consulting last month.

“I felt it was time to grow up,” Boyce said. “I’m normally the type to stay on the job for a year or two, but I stayed with Tech Impact for four years. Not only due to financial obligations, but also as a professional, you know when it’s time to take on a challenge and grow professionally.

Boyce is not alone.

Recent economic data suggests that Nevada’s labor market is restructuring as workers change jobs. And like the rest of the state, the Las Vegas metro area is also experiencing high churn — or the pace of workers moving between jobs.

Stephen Miller, director of research at UNLV’s Center for Economic and Business Research, said this comes down to the current relationship between job vacancies and job seekers.

Historically, there are more jobs available than job seekers during periods of economic expansion and less than a one-to-one ratio during a recession. But the national rate began to exceed that ratio — by about one job for every job seeker — in May 2021, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Today, there are almost two jobs, on average, for every unemployed person.

“Other people were not returning to the workforce because their children were going to school remotely or they were afraid of COVID because they work in an industry that requires face-to-face contact,” Miller said. “Las Vegas, we are heavily into the face-to-face contact industries. Restaurants, bars, casinos all require face to face contact and now we are slowly adapting. »

In June, the state surpassed pre-pandemic employment levels and is now creating more jobs. The Nevada Bureau of Employment said the state hit 1.45 million jobs in June, 3,000 more than its previous record set in February 2020. And state-specific data from the he federal Job Openings and Job Rotation Survey, or JOLT, showed Nevada had 25% more hirings than separations through June.

Boyce said he noticed the high number of job postings over the past year, based on his own job search and helping clients find work. She said applying for dozens of jobs can be tedious and take longer than expected, but she’s seen many clients land new jobs.

“The pie is getting bigger”

David Schmidt, chief economist at the Department of Jobs, Training and Rehabilitation, said he expects to see more churn in the future, in part because Nevada’s growing population adds to its economic growth.

“Over the past two months, we’re now more in expansion mode because we’ve gotten back the jobs that we lost,” Schmidt said. “And so we’re getting into new territory now, but we’re still seeing pretty strong growth.

“Generally, Nevada is attracting workers (and) we are growing. Job gains are not necessarily a loss to anyone else in the state. The cake is not mixed. The cake is getting bigger. »

The Las Vegas metro area was seventh in the nation in job growth between July 2021 and July 2022, according to the BLS, with a 6.3% increase in nonfarm employment.

This and other measures, such as the 12-month average of about 70% of quits as a share of total quits, suggest a worker’s confidence in their ability to leave their job for another opportunity or a job. retirement, Schmidt said.

UNLV economists see these factors as a sign of a “big reassessment” – their view of last year’s trend of “big quitting” as workers resigned for new opportunities.

“Essentially, there has been a shift in our workforce that has occurred over the past few years, where many workers have stopped working in leisure and hospitality and potentially opened a new business ( or joins a new sector)”, Andrew Woods, director of the UNLV Center. for business and economic research, said. “Our industries that were frontline to some degree and critical during the pandemic have some of the highest turnovers of labor.”

But there are signs that a slowdown is ahead, especially as the Federal Reserve continues to take steps to slow inflation and cool hiring by raising short-term interest rates.

JOLT data from July 2022 showed that the rate of people leaving jobs has slowed, and recently released figures from the BLS’s monthly jobs report show that hiring has also slowed. The economy added 315,000 jobs in August, compared to 526,000 jobs in July.

Schmidt said he takes the report as an indication that some macroeconomic forces are moderating.

“Nobody wants to be on that treadmill of job search and job change,” Schmidt said. “I think a lot of people would generally prefer not to have to go through the effort of looking for a job all the time. It takes a lot of energy to do that. If you can find a place where you’re happy, comfortable, and earning what you need, it’s good not to have to for a while.

McKenna Ross is a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms. Contact her at [email protected] Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

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