The number of Nevadans on welfare declined for the second consecutive month in July.
The number of people receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families decreased 1.83 percent to 33,763. That is a decrease of 630 recipients compared with June, state officials reported.
That follows a 2 percent decrease from May to June and is the third decrease this calendar year.
But it is still more than 60 percent higher than the 20,447 who were receiving assistance grants in July 2001.
Applications for benefits began rising even before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 -- by 5.5 percent in July 2001 and 4.3 percent in August.
But the numbers went quickly to double-digit increases following Sept. 11 as southern Nevada resorts laid off thousands of workers.
Welfare administrator Nancy Ford said at the same time, June 2002 food-stamp recipients and Medicaid eligibles continued to rise, but by just nine-tenths of a percent each over the previous month.
As of the end of June, there were 99,443 Nevadans receiving food stamps. As of the end of July, there were 158,002 eligible for Medicaid in the state.
Ford said welfare officials are hopeful that two months of decline in temporary assistance recipients indicates a leveling off caseload growth. She said it's still too early to tell.