DETR discusses unemployment stats, services at Carson City luncheon

DETR chief economist David Schmidt reviews unemployment rates over time in Carson City.

DETR chief economist David Schmidt reviews unemployment rates over time in Carson City. Photo: Faith Evans / Nevada Appeal

Fiddling with navy blue napkins and bright yellow smiley-face stress balls, Carson City businesspeople met on Wednesday, June 30, for the first Soups On! luncheon since March 2020.

Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation representatives outlined Carson City’s unemployment situation, and explained the services they’re providing to encourage employable residents to re-enter the workforce, especially in light of labor shortages.

“We have 5 percent unemployment, but it doesn’t feel like five percent unemployment used to, in part because we’ve just gone through a big pandemic. We have a different share of workers out there than we have in the past,” said David Schmidt, chief economist at DETR.

That’s not just due to COVID-related deaths. Lots of two-parent working households have realized in the past year that they can live off of one income, Schmidt said. And finding childcare is difficult — sometimes more difficult than having one parent stay home.

Schmidt also said it’s not clear cut as to whether increased unemployment benefits are encouraging a significant portion of the workforce to stay home. States that have ended their extra $300 federal unemployment payments have yet to produce any reliable data that answers that question. Results are mixed.

As it stands now, Nevada plans to end weekly $300 federal unemployment benefits on Sept. 6. Back in May, DETR reinstated the requirement that Nevadans collecting unemployment benefits prove that they are looking for a job.

DETR is also trying to be agile in matching talented employees with employers. John Parel, business services manager, highlighted the fact that DETR keeps the largest database of registered job seekers and unemployment claimants in the state.

They also maintain a “rapid response” program for businesses going under; DETR is able to swoop in and find new positions for laid-off employees, minimizing in-between-job time for those workers.

Ken Pierson, business development manager, added that more employers need to be open to hiring disabled workers. DETR partners with Nevada Vocational Rehabilitation to help disabled people find employment.

Schmidt said, at the end of the day, all of those moving pieces are complicated. DETR is doing what it can to support employers and employees, but businesses themselves also have to get creative when it comes to incentivizing people to re-join the workforce.

“Unfortunately, I’d say, if that’s not a satisfying enough answer…feel free to chuck (your yellow smiley balls) at me right now,” he joked.

The Soups On! was held at the Gold Dust West and was sponsored by the Carson City Chamber of Commerce.


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