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Colorado Department of Labor provides update as federal benefits get set to expire

Colorado has paid out roughly $3.5 billion in benefits since mid-March, the labor department reports.

COLORADO, USA — There were more than 10,000 regular initial unemployment claims filed in the state last week, the most initial claims filed since the week ending on June 13, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE).

According to CDLE, there were 10,506 regular claims were filed the week ending July 11.

CDLE reported 7,854 regular claims were filed in the week ending on July 4, 8,566 claims were filed the week before and 9,882 claims were filed the week ending on June 20.

In less than two weeks the extra $600 weekly benefits paid out on top of regular weekly unemployment insurance will stop being paid out by the federal government. 

The last payments will go out the week ending July 25, and congress has not said if they will be extended. 

“If I can say anything to our lawmakers," said John Taylor, a concession coordinator at CU Boulder and a bartender at the Pepsi Center and Dick's Sporting Goods Park. "Please look out for us. Make sure you’re taking care of the people that don’t have a choice to go back to work. Some of us aren’t sitting out because we want to sit out." 

Taylor said the extra $600 dollars a week brings him closer to what he was making when he was working. Without out, he says he'll defer credit card and student loan payments. 

 “The 600 dollars was actually a real lifeline," he said. 

The Congressional Budget Office looked at the economic effect on the country if the $600 a week payments were extended through the end of January 2021. They found it would boost demand for goods and services in the short-term, but would weaken the incentive for people to go back to work which would drive up interest rates. 

RELATED: Colorado labor department installing virtual agent to help with call volume

There were also 5,420 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims filed last week, continuing a downward trend CDLE reported.

There were 5,900 PUA claims filed for the week ending July 4, 6,173 PUA claims filed the week before and 10,385 claims filed the week ending June 20.

According to CDLE, 493,571 regular unemployment claims have been filed since mid-March, and 633,407 total claims have been filed including PUA benefits.

CDLE reports paying out roughly $3.5 billion in unemployment benefits since March 29, which includes $1.22 billion in regular unemployment benefits, $397.8 million in PUA claims and about $1.90 billion Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation claims.

$79 million in regular unemployment benefits were paid out in the week ending July 11, CDLE said.

During an employment update call on Friday, CDLE said that number of Coloradoans who are employed increased by 80,100 people during the month of June. By the end of the month, CDLE said 61.4% of the state's population that is 16 and over is considered employed. Although that is a marked increase over the last two months, it is still well below the pre-pandemic level of 67.7%

Colorado has gained back 126,000 of the 342,300 payroll jobs that were lost in February and April, CDLE said on Friday.

The overall unemployment rate in the state went up slightly from May to June. Even though more people are employed, CDLE said Colorado's labor force grew by 100,200 people. The current unemployment rate is 10.5%, CDLE said. It peaked at just over 12% in April.

According to CDLE, the counties that continue to have the highest unemployment rates are:

  • Gilpin County: 19.7%
  • San Miguel County: 17.1%
  • Summit County: 16.6%
  • Pitkin County: 16%
  • Eagle County: 15.7%

Below is a list of the top 10 industries with highest initial claims for the week ending June 27 from CDLE:

  1. Accommodation and Food Services: 825 (13.1% of total claims for that week)
  2. Healthcare and Social Service: 694 (11.1%)
  3. Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services: 681 (10.9%)
  4. Retail Trade: 666 (10.6%) 
  5. Construction: 456 (7.3%)
  6. Manufacturing: 425 (6.8%)
  7. Professional and Technical Services: 357 (5.7%)
  8. Education Services: 347 (5.5%)
  9. Transportation and Warehousing: 255 (4.1%)
  10. Wholesale Trade: 253 (4.0%)

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