RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- Newly released figures show Nevada's unemployment rate rose to 28.2 percent in April.
"As far as our overall unemployment rate, this is the highest rate we've ever seen. It's the highest rate any state has ever seen," said David Schmidt, Chief Economist for Nevada. "And a big piece of that is because what our economic mix is. We have a very large share of employment in the accommodation and food service industry, which was hit very hard by travel-related shutdowns."
Schmidt says in the last two months, the state has paid approximately $1.6 billion in benefits to Nevadans. Heather Korbulic, Director of Nevada's Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation says the state has paid out 81 percent of eligible claims week after week. She acknowledged that tens of thousands of Nevadans are still waiting to hear back about their unemployment benefits, but that DETR is doing what it can and is leading with the states with its "bare bones unemployment insurance crew and IT crew."
"We know there's a lot of work to be done and we won't be satisfied until everyone is connected to the benefits they are eligible for," said Korbulic.
Since the state launched Pandemic Unemployment Assistance last weekend, more than 59,000 Nevadans have filed claims for the assistance.
DETR temporarily took down its call center at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 22, as it prepared to set up the payment system for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which will should go live Saturday morning. May 23.
"This means that assuming everything goes well this evening, once the system has stood up as expected, filers will be able to begin filing weekly claims starting this weekend," said Korbulic. "Filers will be expected to file for each week they've been eligible for."