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Nevada, Virginia See Unemployment Spikes

Nevada, Virginia See Unemployment Spikes
Stateline July30
Unemployed Las Vegas workers protest delays in benefits in June. Nevada had the biggest two-week increase in unemployment claims.
Damairs Carter/Mediapunch via The Associated Press

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Nevada, Virginia and New Mexico are seeing the biggest jumps in new unemployment claims as a new wave of closings prompts more layoffs, according to figures released today by the Department of Labor for the week ending July 25.

Nevada claims rose almost 50% in two weeks, to about 22,000, with Virginia up 44% and New Mexico up 21%. However, states with coronavirus spikes such as Florida and Texas saw continued drops in claims. Florida’s claims were down 34% and Texas down 28%.

Nationally claims were up for the second straight week, to 1.4 million.

Nevada is struggling to find alternatives to an unemployment fund that’s expected to run dry within weeks, with a wave of new business closings fueling more unemployment.

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Nevada, one of the country’s most tourist-dependent states, has the highest rate of workers getting unemployment benefits: 24% of the state’s June labor force, followed by Hawaii (21%) and California (17%). 

Virginia announced last week that its unemployment fund also would be depleted within weeks after paying out $6.9 billion since the start of the pandemic. More people are looking for work as the end of $600 federal payments looms, and the state sponsored a virtual hiring event this week with 150 employers.

States with the lowest rates of workers on unemployment benefits were Idaho (3%), South Dakota (3%) and Utah (4%). All of those states saw decreases in claims in the most recent two weeks.

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