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July 18, 2014
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Unemployment claims down by 3 percent

In June, 14,503 initial claims for unemployment insurance were filed in Nevada, down just 3 percent compared to June 2013. Initial claims have fallen compared to the previous year for 19 straight months and in 52 of the past 55 months.

The decline in initial claims was the smallest since May 2013, when initial claims fell by just under 1 percent, said Bill Anderson, chief economist for Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

Given the larger-than-average drop in initial claims in May, it is likely that some claims were counted in June instead of May due to May 31 falling on a Saturday this year, he said. Compared to May, initial claims rose by almost 2,000, a somewhat larger increase than the typical increase from May to June of 1,300 over the prior 10 years. This is nearly a mirror image of last month, when claims fell by 2,400 over the month, somewhat more than the average of 1,500.

“Overall, while some further downward momentum continues in initial claims activity, over a longer horizon, initial claims are virtually unchanged when compared to where they stood prior to being pushed to unusually low levels in the housing boom in the mid-2000s and then historic highs in the Great Recession,” Anderson said. “Through the first six months of 2003, initial claims averaged 14,106 per month; through the same months in 2014, initial claims have averaged 14,109 per month.”

An initial claim represents the first stage of filing for unemployment benefits, and is therefore most closely related to the number of people who have recently lost their jobs, not the overall level of unemployment. Initial claims tend to increase on a seasonal basis during the fall and winter months, and then fall during the spring and summer.

Initial claims peaked during the recession at 36,414 in December 2008, and the low point for initial claims was 11,985 in September 2013.

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The Record Courier Updated Jul 20, 2014 12:26PM Published Jul 20, 2014 04:33PM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.