(Las Vegas, NV) — Nevada claims for unemployment benefits have ticked up slightly after 31 months on the decline.

Officials from the state’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation say Thursday that the number of claims in July was up 0.2 percent from the same month last year.

Analysts with the state say they’re monitoring whether the uptick is the beginning of a new trend, or a one-time-only gain. State economist Bill Anderson says claims for the first week of August are down almost 13 percent from the same time in 2011.

Initial claims are the first step in filing for unemployment benefits and are considered a leading indicator of changes in overall employment levels.

In July, 18,690 claims were filed. That’s down from a recession peak of more than 36,000 in December 2008.

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