Las Vegas Sun

February 1, 2015

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state budget:

Jobless fund might be broke by end of year

State says federal government will step in to continue payments

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CARSON CITY -- There is $530 million now in the trust fund to pay unemployment benefits to the rising number of jobless but it may be empty by the end of the year.

But the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation says the unemployed will continue to receive their benefits. It will borrow from the federal government to keep up its commitment.

“They (the unemployed) don’t have to worry,” says Mae Worthy, public information officer for the department. The federal government has already loaned states money to continue paying these benefits."

Worthy said there initially was a projection there would be a $450 million balance by the end of the year. But the number of unemployed kept rising. Last September, the department predicted the unemployment rate would rise to 8.5 percent

But in December, the rate was 9.1 percent with 128,100 unemployed.

And employers might get hit for higher premiums Every September the Nevada Employment Security Council sets the rates for businesses to pay to cover the cost of the jobless rate.

The average rate now is 1.38 percent for the first $25,400 paid to a worker.

There are an estimated 60,000 employers in Nevada and their assessments to the unemployment trust fund range from a low of 0.25 percent to 5.40 percent for businesses with the worst turnover rate.

New businesses pay a 2.95 percent rate on the wages of their workers and that stays in effect for several years until they get an experience rating.

The department also said it would continue accepting unemployment claims calls from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. It’s an effort to improve the ability of the jobless to file claims.

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