Thursday, April 12, 2012 | 4:27 p.m.
CARSON CITY - New claims for unemployment benefits declined by nearly 10 percent in March, showing Nevada's economy is continuing to slowly improve.
The state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reports there were 16,356 new claims for jobless benefits in March compared to the 18,155 in the same month of 2011.
Bill Anderson, chief economist for the department, said new claims show the number of people becoming jobless involuntarily is falling. The number of new claims has declined in each of the past 28 months when compared to the same month of the previous year.
But, Anderson said, "Nevada still has a long road to full recovery." The state still has the highest unemployment rate in the nation.
In addition, a change in the federal regulations will affect nearly 75,000 claimants who now receive or may file for unemployment benefits.
Renee Olson, administrator of the state Employment Security Division, said the new federal regulations impact persons filing for new claims or who have been in the program a certain time. The regulation will affect "how work searches are documented, the number of weeks a claimant can receive benefits and recipients will now be required to attend a reemployment services orientation."
If the jobless individual refuses to take part in the programs, unemployment checks must be stopped.
Olson said all claimants will receive a letter detailing the new requirements.
One part of the new regulation, taking effect in September, reduces the benefits payable from 99 to 73 weeks. The 99 weeks has been in effect since 2009.