CARSON CITY, Nev.—Nevada's unemployment rate, 9.1 percent in December—the highest level since 1983—could top 11 percent in 2010, according to a report released by the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

"I've heard other testimonies speaking of the perfect storm," DETR chief Larry Mosley told state lawmakers on Wednesday. "Well, we're in the midst of one."

To compound matters, the state trust fund used to pay unemployment insurance claims may be depleted by the end of this year, legislators were told. The trust fund is ranked 19th strongest in the nation.

"The current economic crisis is one that is unprecedented in nature, and has defied all projections," said Cindy Jones, administrator of the state Employment Security Division. "Nevada finds itself among the numerous states that may have to borrow from the federal government in order to make benefit payments."

Renee Olsen, chief financial officer for DETR, said that for the past three years, the agency has had to return federal funds due to the lack of state matching funds.

Olsen said that nearly two-thirds of the department's budget comes from federal sources, and 11 percent of that income is dependent on state matching funds.

"Federal funding continues to increase, while our ability to match these funds is eroded," Olsen said. "We will be working hard to maximize and identify every matching dollar that we can."

Mosley said 128,100 Nevadans are out of work, and about 78,000 people are getting an average of $300 a week in jobless benefits.