Nevada hiring boosted by act

Some 69,254 people in Nevada were hired under an incentive program that provides tax breaks for hiring unemployed workers, the Treasury Department said Monday.

The report, however, does not estimate how many of those jobs would have been added without the tax break.

In the U.S., businesses have hired 5.6 million workers under the program, according to the Treasury Department.

In June, Expedia Inc., the online travel agency, announced it planned to add 130 jobs to its Las Vegas office, and that the HIRE Act “assisted us with this expansion.”

In April, Bryce Krausman opened the DW Bistro restaurant at 6115 S. Fort Apache Road, and he has staffed it largely with servers and kitchen help who had been out of work, enabling the business to qualify for the tax breaks.

Krausman estimates he could save at least $20,000 at year’s end.

“That was one of the nice little things my accountant and I worked on together,” he said.

On Monday, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in a speech referenced the restaurant as an example of how the HIRE (Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment) Act is being used in Nevada. He declared the program a success.

Brian Gordon, a principal at Applied Analysis, a Las Vegas business research and consulting firm, said the jobs program may be an encouraging spot in the landscape for companies that can hire, but many are not. He noted the state continued to shed jobs overall.

“The fact that employers have reached out to nearly 70,000 workers and put them on their payroll is certainly a positive sign, but overall the employment picture remains challenging,” he said.

Considering the number of people in Southern Nevada who have been out of work for extended periods, companies that decide to add workers won’t have to look far to claim their tax breaks, said Jeff Waddoup, an associate professor of economics at UNLV.

“You have 141,500 people (in Las Vegas), who have been out of work, and roughly half of them are long-term unemployed,” he said. “If businesses know about this, then a lot of the people they are hiring probably are covered.”

President Obama signed the law in March. Businesses hiring people who have been unemployed for at least 60 days are exempt from paying the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax through December. Employers get an additional $1,000 credit if new workers stay on the job a full year.

Businesses who made the new hires are projected to save $10.4 billion in taxes, if they keep three-fourths of the new workers for at least a year, the Treasury report said. Many businesses also cut jobs during the period, though there was a net increase of about 868,000 jobs from February through June, according to the government’s business payroll survey. The economy shed 125,000 jobs in June, according to the survey.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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