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Nev. jobless rate drops to 3-year-low of 10.8 pct.

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Nevada's unemployment rate dropped to 10.8 percent last month, the lowest it's been in more than three years and the most significant monthly improvement since April 2005, state officials said Friday.

The November jobless rate fell to 10.4 percent in Las Vegas, down 2.6 percentage points from the same month a year ago, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

The Reno-Sparks area dipped to 9.9 percent, its first single-digit reading for November since 2008, and Carson City dropped to 10.3 percent, a full 2 points better than a year ago, officials said.

Combined with a number of other barometers of economic health — including upticks in taxable sales, hotel bookings and gambling profits — state economists said the new jobless figures are "fairly encouraging with notable improvement on a number of different fronts."

"The news on the jobs front in November is especially encouraging," said William Anderson, the department's chief economist. He said jobs typically decline by about 1,200 during October and November, but this year they actually increased by 8,000.

"The end result is a seasonally adjusted gain of 9,200, the most pronounced monthly increase since April 2005," Anderson said.

Gov. Brian Sandoval noted it marked the first time private sector employment had reached 1 million since March 2009.

"While this is good news, there is much work to be done," the first-term Republican said. "In order to continue to grow our state's economy, we must continue to diversify, recruit new businesses to Nevada and help retain workers still looking for employment."

The statewide figure was well below October's 11.5 percent unemployment rate.

Mineral County was the only county in the state that experienced a monthly increase in unemployment in November, from 11.1 percent to 12.5 percent. Lyon County's 13.6 percent is the highest rate in Nevada, but it's down 2.5 points from 2011.

The state economists warned in their November overview of Nevada's labor market on Friday that the figures arguably could overstate the health of the job market.

"For instance, the jobless rate is estimated to have declined 0.7 percentage point from October, a trend that is certainly unsustainable going forward," the report said.

"Given the volatility evident in these estimates over time, we continue to urge caution in placing too much weight on one month's results. We are, however, quite comfortable in concluding that the state's labor markets continue to behave in a manner consistent with moderate improvement over time."