UPDATE: NV expanding jobless claims system after 1,350 percent spike in filings
UPDATE, 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 27: The Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation issued the following updated unemployment numbers in a Friday afternoon press release:
- Initial claims for unemployment insurance totaled 92,298 for the week ending March 21
- That’s an increase of 85,942 claims, or 1,352 percent, compared to the previous week’s total of 6,356.
- This is the highest number of claims in state history by 83,353.
- The previous high was 8,945 for the week ending January 10, 2009.
The original story from Monday morning is below.
CARSON CITY, Nev. — With its online claims filing system rapidly becoming overwhelmed by the number of people seeking benefits, Nevada’s Employment Security Division is moving to expand that system.
According to the Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation, the state recorded about 93,000 new weekly unemployment claims during the week ending March 21, which amounted to a roughly 1,300 percent increase from the week prior, before many businesses in the state were ordered to close for 30 days amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We understand the frustration many are feeling and we hear you,” DETR Director Tiffany Tyler-Garner said in a March 27 statement. “We are actively monitoring our systems and researching ways to expand our system and staffing levels to meet a monumental need for unemployment insurance support.”
She said they have developed a tool for constituents needing help resetting their username, password or both. The tool is available at gov.nv.gov/Forms/Unemployment.
The form will key staff to provide instructions on how to fix the claimant’s problem.
Tyler-Garner said staff has been added at the UI Claims Call Centers along with new features to handle calls. But she said DETR still prefers people file claims online to free up the phones for those who don’t have online access.
New staff and existing staff in the agency are reportedly being trained to help with the backlog of emails and phone requests and the agency is adding new technology to help the online filing process.
Finally, they are working on new tutorials in English and Spanish to help people through the process of filing a claim.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.