Hard-hit Nevada finally received some good economic news on Tuesday (February 28). For the first time since 2007, the state added more private-sector jobs than it lost last year, marking an important shift after years of decline, but suggesting that the state's recovery will be a long, slow climb.
The Las Vegas Sun notes that Nevada has lost about 175,000 jobs over the last five years , and that the 7,800-job increase reported by the state on Tuesday must be placed into a broader context. "To put it in perspective," the paper reports, "the number of jobs in Nevada this year is back to 2004 levels."
Nevada still has the nation's highest unemployment rate at 12.6 percent and is still one of the most fiscally troubled states in the nation . Its tourism and gambling-focused economy collapsed during the recession, and state lawmakers have responded to huge budget deficits with higher taxes and deep budget cuts.
But there are glimmers of hope. As the Sun reports, "the gaming and tourism industries have rebounded," and lawmakers have revamped Nevada's economic development strategy, raising hopes that the state will diversify its notoriously boom-and-bust economy in the coming years. The job numbers released Tuesday show what one analyst called " the beginning of an anemic recovery."