For the week ending Jan. 2, initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) totaled 8,461, up 1,252 claims, or 17.4%, compared to the previous week’s total of 7,209 claims, according to data from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). Since the week ending March 14, 2020, the first week Nevada saw claims increase due the pandemic, there have been a total of 794,227 initial claims filed.
It should be noted that due to the delay in the passage of HB 133, many of the benefit programs enacted during the pandemic expired for a short period of time. This programmatic lapse may have introduced some variability in the data.
Continued claims, which represent the current number of insured unemployed workers filing weekly for unemployment insurance benefits, totaled 77,383 claims, a decrease of 991 claims, or 1.3%, from the previous week’s total of 78,374. Decreases in regular continued claims have been recorded in 20 of the past 22 weeks, due in part to claimants exhausting their benefit weeks and moving to other benefit programs.
Nevada’s Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which originally provided up to 13 weeks of benefits to individuals who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits, saw 86,101 claims filed in the week, a decline of 9,338 claims from last week’s total of 95,439. The passage of HB 133 updated this provision; starting the week ending January 2, claimants may be eligible for up to an additional 11 weeks of PEUC in certain circumstances.
Nevada’s State Extended Benefit (SEB) program provides up to 20 weeks of benefits to individuals who have exhausted both their regular and PEUC program benefits. Nevada saw 34,516 claims filed in the week, an increase of 10,543 claims from a week ago. New guidance from the Department of Labor may require DETR to change the sequence of applying and paying out benefits.
The insured unemployment rate for the regular UI program, which is the ratio of regular continued claims in a week to the total number of jobs covered by the unemployment insurance system (also known as covered employment), fell 0.1 percentage points to 5.5%. Including claimants in the benefit extension programs, the rate, more appropriately called the extended insured unemployment rate, was 14.2%, unchanged from last week. It should be noted that the calculation of the insured unemployment rate is different from that of the state’s total unemployment rate.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which provides benefits for self-employed, 1099 contract workers, and gig workers saw 1,116 initial claims filed in the week ending January 2, a decline of 3,930 claims, or 77.9%, from last week’s total of 5,046. Since the start of the PUA program, there have been a total of 785,665 PUA initial claims filed.
There were 78,770 PUA continued claims filed in the week ending January 2, a decrease of 5,698 claims, or 6.7%, from the previous week’s revised total of 84,468. This is the ninth consecutive week of declines in PUA continued claims, and the lowest reading for any week since the start of the program.
DETR is actively working with law enforcement entities and the Department of Labor to detect, prevent and address unemployment fraud. Employers and individuals who believe they have been a victim of unemployment fraud, can file a report with the agency by visiting www.detr.nv.gov and selecting the Unemployment Fraud tab on the left under “Quick links” and clicking on “Report Fraud to DETR.” Once a report is filed with the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), nothing else is required by the reporting party. DETR will flag the account so payments are not issued. If needed, the Department may reach out for additional information. To view what additional steps individuals and employers can take if they believe a fraudulent claim has been filed, review DETR’s fraud flyer located on the Bulletin Board at www.detr.nv.gov.
For Nevada workers who are self-employed, 1099 contract workers, and gig workers, Nevada’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) is available. For further information regarding the PUA program visit, detr.nv.gov/pua#. Individuals will be able to file online at www.employnv.gov or call the PUA Call Center at (800) 603-9681 or 775-298-6007 or 702-329-6699 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and Saturday between 8 a.m. and noon.
Claimants are encouraged to visit http://ui.nv.gov/css.html and detr.nv.gov/coronavirus to view important announcements and access essential resources. Online tutorial videos are also available in both English and Spanish and can be viewed on the Nevada Unemployment InsuranceYouTube page.