Nevada’s unemployment rate hit a record 28.2% in April, the first full month of mandated coronavirus business shutdowns, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
Nevada's jobless rate was the worst in the country, DETR chief economist David Schmidt said. The agency has paid out more than $1.6 billion in unemployment benefits in the past two months, he said.
"Nevada is facing record high unemployment and the sheer numbers are difficult to comprehend,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement.
The number of jobs in the food and hospitality industry was down 41% compared to April 2019, Schmidt said.
Sisolak ordered casinos and other nonessential businesses statewide closed in mid-March to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Some businesses were allowed to start reopening on May 9 under strict social distancing guidelines, but casinos remain closed.
"Nevada is working diligently to get people back to work as fast as possible, in a safe and responsible manner,” Sisolak said.
Schmidt called the April unemployment numbers "sobering" and said there was “no precedent for data like this, neither the magnitude of the shift nor the speed with which it has happened.”
More than 59,000 people have also signed up for a new program to provide assistance to gig workers and others who do not qualify for standard unemployment benefits, officials said.