Gov. Steve Sisolak is not considering ending federal unemployment benefits early, even though several states are declining the help amid concerns that businesses are having trouble finding willing workers, a spokeswoman said on Friday.
As of Thursday, at least 16 states — all with Republican governors — had announced plans to turn down benefits, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming. Many of the governors have said programs such as the $300-per-week add-on to base benefits is harming the workforce by discouraging people from getting a job, but Sisolak’s office is taking a different tack.
“At this time, there are no conversations taking place on ending this benefit early,” his spokeswoman, Meghin Delaney, told The Nevada Independent on Friday.
The programs were extended through early September. Effective this month, however, Nevada claimants are once again required to certify they are searching for work in order to receive benefits.
The latest week’s statistics show that there are about 230,180 people in Nevada filing for unemployment benefits through available programs. That’s down from 237,749 continued claims from the week earlier, but still accounts for about 15 percent of the civilian labor force.
More than $133 million was paid out in unemployment benefits in the most recent week in Nevada, with nearly 80 percent coming from federally funded programs that were not available before the pandemic and are being retired early by some other states.
Observers in Nevada say a variety of factors are at play for businesses having a hard time filling certain positions. While some blame the attractiveness of more-generous-than-normal unemployment benefits, others say families are staying on the benefits because they lack reliable child care, and others say it’s on businesses to pay workers a more competitive wage.
Overall, however, statistics show an improving employment picture in Nevada. For the most recent week, the number of initial claims for regular unemployment is the lowest it has been during the pandemic, falling below the number of claims filed the week before the pandemic.