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Continued unemployment claims see significant drop

Continued unemployment claims saw the first sizable decline this year during the week ending Feb. 20, according to finalized data from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

Continued claims, which represent the current number of insured unemployed workers filing weekly for unemployment insurance benefits, totaled 71,634, a decrease of 5,676, or 7.3%, from the previous week’s total of 77,310.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance totaled 7,509, up 131 claims, or 1.8%, compared to the previous week’s total of 7,378 claims. Through the week ending Feb. 20, there have been a total of 858,978 initial claims filed since the week ending March 14, 2020.

Nevada’s Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which provides benefits to individuals who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits, saw 56,507 claims filed in the week, a decline of 2,941 claims from last week’s total of 59,448. The passage of HR 133, Continued Assistance Act, 2021, updated the number of available benefit weeks for the PEUC program. Originally 13 weeks, starting the week ending Jan. 2, claimants may be eligible for up to an additional 11 weeks of PEUC in certain circumstances.

Nevada’s State Extended Benefit program currently provides up to 20 weeks of benefits to individuals in regular UI who have exhausted both their regular and PEUC program benefits. Nevada saw 76,143 claims filed in the week, an increase of 2,244 claims from a week ago.

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, fell to 5.4% from the previous week’s rate of 5.8%.

Including claimants in the benefit extension programs, the rate, more appropriately called the extended insured unemployment rate, was 15.4%. 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 program, which provides benefits for self-employed, 1099 contract workers and gig workers, saw 6,413 initial claims filed in the week ending Feb. 20, a decline of 6,019 claims, or 48.4%, from last week’s total of 12,432. Initial applications for the PUA program continue to be highly variable because of ongoing high levels of fraudulent applications.

Through the week ending Feb. 20, there have been a total of 1,086,957 PUA initial claims filed.

There were 89,282 PUA continued claims filed in the week ending Feb. 20, a decrease of 16,331 claims, or 15.5%, from the previous week’s revised total of 105,613.

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