Nevada unemployment hits record 28.2 percent

DETR officials say Nevada’s unemployment is at an all-time record 28.2 percent.

Total employment is down 244,800 since Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered the closure of all “non-essential” businesses in mid-March to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

David Schmidt, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said hardest hit was Nevada’s biggest employer category, the Accommodations and Food Service industry — gaming, tourism, restaurants and bars.

Schmidt said Nevada has the nation’s highest unemployment rate followed by Michigan, home of the auto industry.

He said the unemployment Trust Fund has paid out $1.6 billion in Nevada since the pandemic shutdown.

In addition to the regular unemployment benefits system, DETR Director Heather Korbulic said the agency is now ramping up the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that is designed to provide cash to those who don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits. That includes independent contractors, gig workers and 1099 contract workers. She said in the first week the PUA system was up, 59,000 Nevadans filed claims, about half of them on the first day the system was available. She said the second phase of that project is the payment system and that initial PUA payments should go out next Wednesday.

Like regular unemployment insurance beneficiaries, PUA claimants must file weekly to keep the assistance coming.

The program is completely funded by the federal government.

For the third week, regular unemployment initial claims continued to decline. A total of 17,837 new claims were filed in the week ending May 16, 17.6 percent fewer than the week before.

Continuing claims, as predicted, increased as they have every week since the economic shutdown, finishing the week at 369,041. That represents an increase of 13.7 percent.

Korbulic said pending claims have also been dramatically reduced in the past couple of weeks from a high of more than 100,000 to just under 47,000.


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