New unemployment filings continued to rise in Colorado last week, an indication that the economic recovery from the coronavirus-spurred recession is as uneven at altitude as it has been across the nation as a whole.
A combined 8,774 Coloradans filed claims for unemployment support during the week ending Oct.10, a 7% increase over the 8,201 new claims filed the week prior, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Of those people, 6,242 filed claims for traditional state support and 2,532 filed for benefits through the self-employed and gig worker supporting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
The gentle increase in new claims in Colorado last week mirrors the rises seen across the country. Nationally, 898,000 sought unemployment support last week. While well below the historic highs seen early on in the pandemic, the numbers tell a story of an economy that is still sick as airlines shed jobs in the thousands as tens of thousands of people remain on unemployment benefits months after losing their jobs.
Colorado’s new filings declined through much of the summer, state data shows, particularly after the labor department adjusted PUA numbers that were skewed by fraud. But like hospitalizations for the virus new filings are creeping up again.
More than 742,000 unemployment claims have been filed in Colorado since mid March, according to the labor department. Including PUA and other federal programs and subsidies, the state’s unemployment division has processed $5.69 billion in payments. The state’s unemployment trust fund has been empty and borrowing from the federal government since August.
More than 232,500 Coloradans filed continued claims for benefits in the week ending Oct. 3. Perhaps most troubling is 44,183 of those people are on the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, an extended benefits program that stretches for 13 weeks beyond the 26 weeks provided for under regular state payments, state officials say.
The hospitality and retail industries continue to be hardest hit by the virus in Colorado. During the week ending Sept. 26, people in the foodservice and accommodations sector accounted for 12.7% of new claims, and retail workers accounted for 12%, the labor department says. Healthcare and social assistance workers were the third most likely to seek unemployment support, filing 11.9% of all new claims that week.
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