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Nevada jobless rate lowest since September 2008

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada's unemployment rate continued to shrink in May, to 7.9 percent, marking the lowest point in nearly six years, according to a state report made public Friday.

Construction showed the biggest gains, as employers across the state added 8,300 jobs during the month, according to seasonally adjusted figures provided by the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

That number was far more than the 5,900 that analysts expected, and it continued a growth trend that began in early 2011.

Gov. Brian Sandoval noted that the state unemployment rate peaked at 14 percent during the Great Recession, and it is now below 8 percent for the first time since September 2008.

He called the results encouraging, but said the state needs to continue economic development and diversification.

State Chief Economist Bill Anderson said Nevada's unemployment rate remains among the highest in the country, which has a 6.3 percent nationwide rate.

But he said the state's job base was growing at a pace more than double the national average.

Nevada is home to a seasonally adjusted 1.2 million jobs as of May, Anderson said in a statement accompanying the report.

He noted that was the highest employment-level reading since December 2008.

After peaking at more than 194,400 at the height of the recession in October 2010, the number of unemployed Nevadans has dropped by about 84,400, Anderson said, while initial unemployment insurance claims are decreasing and weekly wages are increasing slowly.

The May monthly figure followed a half-point drop from March to April that represented the biggest monthly decrease in the statewide unemployment rate in more than 30 years.

All of Nevada's metropolitan areas experienced job growth in May compared with a year ago.

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