Nevada's improving economy has a downside for unemployed workers.
Officials announced Monday that the unemployment rate is low enough that Nevada is no longer eligible to pay State Extended Benefits, which assist 5,500 Nevadans who have exhausted other jobless benefits. Those Nevadans won't receive checks after July 7.
The State Extended Benefits program is only available to states that have an unemployment rate at least 10 percent higher than the same month in one of the three previous years. Nevada has met that requirement since February 2009. But May's 11.8 percent rate would have to be 12 percent or higher for the state to continue being eligible for the SEB benefits.
Renee Olson, administrator of the Employment Security Division, said many people have been unemployed for long periods of time because of the severity of the recession. The federal program helped them continue to pay some of their bills while looking for work.
"We understand that this is unfortunate news for those who depend on these benefits," Olson said.
The program is one of three that Nevada's jobless have had been able to use to extend benefits. There is the initial, state-funded 26 weeks of benefits followed by the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. The federally funded EUC has four tiers and offers up to 53 weeks of additional benefits to those who have exhausted their state benefits.
That is followed by the SEB benefits Nevada is set to lose next month, which provided the final 20 weeks of benefits to those unable to find work.
The state is notifying all those who will lose benefits by mail. Olson said those notices include information on other government resources that may help those people out including services by the Nevada JobConnect program.
"The declining unemployment rate suggests that Nevada's labor market is on the mend," said Frank R. Woodbeck, director of Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. "However, we recognize that it is still a challenge for many to find work."