New Filings For Unemployment In Nevada Shatter Old Record

Closing Of Casinos, Non-Essential Businesses Lead To Mass Filings

Associated Press
March 30, 2020 - 5:22 am
Unemployment insurance form and clipboard on a desk.

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A record-setting wave of jobless applicants overwhelmed Nevada’s unemployment system following casino closures because of the coronavirus pandemic, state officials acknowledged Friday. 

Officials promised that people having trouble submitting claims will not lose benefits regardless of when they are able to file.

The 93,036 applications received last week was “unprecedented,” the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation said, and the total vastly eclipsed the previous high of nearly 9,000 weekly claims filed during the first week of January 2009, amid the Great Recession.

Responding to reports that claim-seekers waited hours on telephone hold or were disconnected, the department said call center employees have been added; others were being trained to assist with a backlog of email and phone requests; and an online portal was set up for people having trouble resetting account usernames, passwords or both. Online claimants will receive instructions from state staff members, it said.

The stunning increase in claims followed layoffs and furloughs related to the closure of casinos, stores, restaurants and bars, liquor stores, entertainment venues and exercise gyms in response to the worldwide spread of new coronavirus. It was made more dramatic after the state unemployment rate hit a record low in January of 3.6%.

The Nevada Resort Association published an economic analysis last week saying 320,000 employees relying on $1.3 billion in monthly wages and salaries each month were at immediate risk.