LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — First-time claims for unemployment benefits continue to drop in year-to-year comparisons, according to number released Tuesday by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation.

Last month, 9,870 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits were filed, compared to 10,550 claims in July 2018, a 6.5% decrease.

And the 12-month average continues to drop since its peak near the end of 2009 during the Great Recession. The 12-month average, currently at 10,050 claims, is lower than it was in pre-recession years.

( Nevada Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation)

“The average has been trending down steadily since the beginning of 2010,” said Jeremey Hays, a state economist.

Initial claims actually jumped from June to July this year by 400 claims, or 4.4 percent. But other trends “describe a strong labor market,” Hays said. The “exhaustion rate” is slightly lower than last July. That rate looks at people who have run out of jobless benefits divided by the number of new claims.

People who file an initial claim for unemployment benefits are out of work for an average of 13.2 weeks.