31% of Nevada workers idle since closures

LAS VEGAS — About 24,000 out-of-work Nevada residents filed first-time unemployment claims last week, pushing the percentage of people seeking jobless benefits to 31% since casinos and businesses shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to federal figures.

Filings have slowed dramatically since a peak of more than 92,000 the week after closures began eight weeks ago, a U.S. Department of Labor report shows.

The state unemployment rate shot up from an all-time-low 3.6% in February to a record 22% last week. Another jump is expected with a state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation report on Friday.

Nevada is the only U.S. state not taking applications for federal coronavirus relief payments to self-employed gig workers, and two Reno women filed a lawsuit this week to force the state to begin processing and paying the more than $600 a week Congress promised.

State health officials are reporting that almost 6,400 people in Nevada have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 331 have died.

Most people with the virus experience symptoms such as fever and cough for up to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems can face severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority recover.


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