NV unemployment insurance fund at record $1.3 billion | nnbw.com

NV unemployment insurance fund at record $1.3 billion

Geoff Dornan
gdornan@nevadaappeal.com

CARSON CITY, Nev. — The trust fund that pays unemployment insurance benefits to Nevadans without a job hasn't only recovered from the recession — it's reached a record $1.3 billion.

Nevada's unemployment insurance trust fund is built by assessing employers throughout the state to fund benefits when the economy tanks.

This week, Gov. Brian Sandoval said that balance is the highest level in the fund's history in Nevada.

He said that fortifies Nevada's position if and when another recession hits the state.

The May 16 report by the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation also points out this is the first time the total number of employers participating in the unemployment insurance system has exceeded 70,000.

DETR Chief Economist David Schmidt said employment remains robust in Nevada with a total labor force of 1.48 million — up about 12,000 just since January. He predicted the total labor force would exceed 1.5 million by year's end.

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Nevada has added 43,000 jobs over the past year, led by manufacturing which has expended by 14.3 percent year to date.

Nevada's unemployment rate remains at 4.9 percent, unchanged since August of last year.

The recession drained the more than $700 million in the trust fund and forced the state to borrow more than $800 million before the economy began to recover. The state repaid the federal loans using bonds and has since also paid off those bonds.

The state unemployment insurance rate is at an average of 2 percent for employers. That ranges from 5.4 percent to a quarter of a percent depending on the type of business and that employer's employee turnover rate.

The numbers released this week show the state is almost at its goal of $1.34 billion by the end of this year. DETR staff experts say that should be enough to carry the state through a new recession without having to borrow from the federal government.