‘Ongoing recovery’: Washoe Co. jobless rate improves to 4.5%

Nevada’s unemployment rate improved slightly to 7.8% in May, according to new monthly data released Tuesday, June 22, by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

While the mark is a minor improvement from April’s jobless rate of 8.0%, it’s still significantly higher than the national rate of 5.8% for May.

The difference is driven by the 8.9% mark in Clark County. As has been the case since the onset of the pandemic last March, Clark continues to have the state’s worst jobless rate due to the high percentage of hospitality and leisure workers still out of work.

By comparison, May’s jobless rate came in at 4.5% in both Washoe and Douglas counties; 4.9% in Storey; 5.0% in Carson City; 5.5% in Lyon and 6.1% in Nye. The 
lowest May mark in the Silver state was 2.2% in Eureka County; the other nine Nevada counties are below 4% unemployment, including 3.2% in Churchill.

Of note, Washoe County’s 4.5% jobless rate for May is a 0.4 percentage improvement from April’s rate of 4.9%.

Meanwhile, according to DETR, there were just 15,401 initial claims filed for unemployment benefits in May. That is down 62.3% from April 2020 and the lowest number of initial claims in the calendar year so far.

There were 1.44 million Nevadans working as of May this year. That is 361,000 more than in May 2020 at the height of the pandemic shutdown.

Unemployment officials say that leaves just under 120,000 jobless in the state. Of those, 12,140 are in Washoe County and 1,342 in Carson City.

“This month’s data gives us our first look at the employment impacts from the state’s move back to being 100% open, and where that process stood in the middle of May,” DETR Chief Economist Dave Schmidt said in a statement. “These estimates show particularly strong growth in the food services industry, which grew by 4.5% over the month and added 5,400 jobs since April. The leisure and hospitality industry added the most jobs over the month overall, with 9,500 jobs statewide and 6,800 in Las Vegas as large hotel casinos continue to ramp up hiring to capture pent up demand for summer tourism.

“… The number of claimants filing for weekly unemployment benefits fell by 30,000 in May, from 190,000 to 159,000, continuing a trend that began in late March. While employment has not fully recovered and unemployment remains high, the trends consistently point to an ongoing recovery as we head into the summer.”

Emergency jobless regulations expire

Also on June 22, DETR released a statement reminding Nevadans that several emergency regulations adopted during the pandemic expired this past Saturday, June 19.

“With the expiration of the emergency regulations and the decrease in Nevada’s unemployment rate, the eligibility requirements for unemployment will go back to what they were pre-pandemic,” according to the statement. “Unemployment has always been a temporary bridge to help those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, return to the workforce.”

Per the state, with the expiration of the regulations, there are three changes that may affect claimant eligibility or benefits:

  • Deductible Income – Normally, unemployment benefits are reduced by the amount of severance, pension (with certain exceptions), sick or annual leave payouts that a claimant received after separating from their employer. This has always been a UI requirement which was relaxed during the pandemic.
  • Next to Last Employer Separation – DETR has always reviewed to see if a claimant separated from their last employer for cause or quit without good cause. If they had been with their most recent employer less than 16 weeks, this review will again also apply to their next to last employer.
  • Able and Available – All UI claimants must be able and available to seek and accept full-time work to continue to be eligible for unemployment benefits. This requirement was waived while business operations were limited due to COVID; it is once again required to be eligible.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment