According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provisional estimates, in July 2003 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in Nevada numbered 1,112,200, with approximately 59,500 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 5.4%, compared to the national average of 6.2% for the same period. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1978, the highest unemployment rate recorded was 11.6% in February 1983. The historical low was 3.7% in June 1978. In 2001, an estimated 8.3% of the labor force was employed in construction; 4.2% in manufacturing; 6.2% in transportation, communications, and public utilities; 18.5% in trade; 4.9% in finance, insurance, and real estate; 38.3% in services; 11.4% in government; and 1.4% in agriculture.
The US Department of Labor reported that in 2002, 147,000 of Nevada's 971,000 employed wage and salary workers were members of unions. This represented 15.2% of those so employed, down from 17.0% in 2001. The national average is 13.2%. In all, 162,000 workers (16.7%) were represented by unions. In addition to union members, this category includes workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union contract. Nevada is one of 22 states with a right-to-work law.