Nearly 2,800 people in Reno filed for unemployment last week as the country continues to reel from the coronavirus pandemic, according to new numbers released by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
The spike in statewide claims is unprecedented, reaching a level more than 10 times the level seen during the Great Recession.
Statewide, more than 92,000 people sought unemployment benefits last week. That number includes 4,449 claims in Washoe County.
The job losses follow an order by Gov. Steve Sisolak that required casinos and all other non-essential businesses to close in an effort to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The flood of unemployed Nevadans has overwhelmed the state’s unemployment benefits website and phone lines. Those seeking benefits have complained of waiting for hours on hold and being unable to access their benefits online.
Coronavirus layoffs: How to file for unemployment insurance benefits if you’ve lost your job
On Friday, the department announced it would expand its security help desk hours to help those who must call in to verify their identity before receiving benefits.
“We continue to take steps to address the issues we know many claimants are experiencing during these unprecedented times. We will continue to evaluate and revise our systems and staffing as the need arises to meet the increased demand from our online filers,” said DETR Director, Dr. Tiffany Tyler-Garner.
Anjeanette Damon is the government watchdog reporter for the RGJ. You can reach her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @AnjeanetteDamon. If you care about shining a bright light on decisions made by your elected officials, please consider subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal.
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