FILE - In this March 17, 2020, file photo, people wait in line for help with unemployment benefits at the One-Stop Career Center in Las Vegas. A Nevada judge says the state unemployment benefits office has to begin paying pandemic relief benefits to out-of-work gig and independent workers who haven't completely stopped working and were cut off from receiving payments.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits increased in the week ending March 6.
But the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reports the state added 7,400 jobs during January, reducing overall unemployment to 8.1 percent.
DETR Chief Economist Dave Schmidt said statewide, employment has now increased in nine consecutive months. He said the most rapid growth is in state government — typically at public universities and community colleges.
He said the leisure and hospitality sector is still the hardest hit in Nevada, accounting for two-thirds of the net job loss over the past year. Those job losses are concentrated in the Las Vegas area.
Schmidt said the growing availability of vaccines is bringing hope for a stronger rebound this summer.
There were 10,548 initial claims for benefits, a 14.6 percent rise from the previous week and the second consecutive weekly increase in claims.
Continued claims — the number of workers filing for weekly benefits, totaled 72,058, a decrease of just 489 claims — less than 1 percent — from the week before.
As workers exhaust their regular benefits, the number of people relying on the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program increased 15,400 claims to 71,695 during the week. That program was expanded from 13 weeks of checks to 24 weeks.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that provides benefits to the self-employed and gig workers saw 5,152 initial claims during the seek, a 1,588 decline. Initial claims there continue to fluctuate widely from week to week because DETR officials say PUA is the target of numerous fraudulent claims.
But continued PUA claims fell 7,040 to 76,896 last week.