DETR: Initial unemployment claims rise for a second week, unemployment rate at 21%

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — For the second consecutive week, the number of weekly claims filed for regular unemployment benefits has increased. Initial claims filed in the week ending on July 4 were 12,484. There have been 540,834 claims filed since March 14.

According to the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, Nevada’s current unemployment rate is at 20.9%.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, which is money from the CARES Act for unemployed contract, gig or self-employed workers saw 62,810 initial claims filed at the end of last week. Since the program began, 285,980 claims have been filed, nearly 132,000 of those in the past two weeks. You can find questions and answers about PUA at this link.

“As of July 9, 105,207 claims have been paid for PUA for a total of $1.02 billion, including both regular PUA funds as well as the $600 additional to those PUA benefits,” said Dave Schmidt, chief economist for DETR.

A report from the U.S. Census Bureau estimated there were 82,000 self-employed workers in Nevada, but lawyers representing PUA claimants who have filed a lawsuit against DETR for lack of payment of claims believes that number is much higher.

The lawsuit is asking a judge to force DETR to pay the PUA claims that are caught in a pending status awaiting review. DETR has said thousands of claims were denied for PUA because the claimant may be entitled to regular unemployment benefits. A decision is expected on that lawsuit next week.

According to DETR Administrator Heather Gaa, new functionality is being launched that will help verify if PUA claimants have eligibility for regular unemployment benefits. She added those filers should receive a determination starting next week. Any filer that receives the notification is advised to file a claim at UI.NV.Gov.

Gaa added there were issues with the PUA system on the weekend of June 27 and 28 where approximately 1,000 PUA filers couldn’t access their claims and it resulted in the system generating a notice that they must file a new claim. She said that issue is resolved and no claim information was lost.

Gaa said DETR continues to work on improving its adjudication process.

DETR has paid a total of $4.3B in PUA and regular unemployment benefits.

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