COLORADO, USA — More than 40,000 regular initial unemployment (UI) claims were filed in the most recent week, and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) said that fraudulent claims likely were a major contributor to the high total.
CDLE reported that 41,439 UI claims were filed the week ending Jan. 2, and also said that other factors including quarter change and seasonal filings and claim reopens also likely had an impact on the increase.
CDLE also reported $45.5 million in regular UI benefits was paid out that same week.
> Video above: Congress extends federal unemployment benefits through March.
"Reports of UI fraud by victims have increased proportionately with the increase in regular UI claims," CLDE said.
A detailed analysis will be conducted, and CDLE said the findings will be presented in a future unemployment update.
Anyone who would like to report fraud can go to CDLE's website.
No initial Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims were filed due to the expiration of the CARES Act and federal unemployment benefits on Dec. 26.
"Any COVID-19 impacted worker that was receiving federal CARES Act unemployment assistance is not able to file or receive benefits since these programs were ended on December 26th," CDLE said.
CDLE said that any new programs authorized by the Continued Assistance Act will be implemented once federal guidance is received and systems are programed for the new benefits.
CDLE previously warned this process would take several weeks, and warned that the payment of federal benefits would likely not resume until late January or early February.
Since mid-March, a total of 773,558 regular UI claims have been filed and 1,025,482 total claims have been filed, including PUA benefits.
For the week ending December 26th, a combined total of 277,616 continued claims were filed from the regular UI (109,373), PUA (97,585), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (70,658) programs.
Benefits paid since March 29, according to CDLE:
- Regular UI: $2.50 Billion
- PUA (gig workers/self-employed): $1.05 Billion
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation ($600/weekly UI benefits to eligible claimants): $2.51 Billion
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (extends unemployment benefits by up to 13 weeks): $349.9 Million
- State Extended Benefits (extends unemployment benefits an additional 13 weeks): $29.7 Million
- Lost Wages Assistance ($300/weekly UI benefits to eligible claimants): $389.2 Million
- Total: $6.82 Billion
- Healthcare and Social Assistance: 2,070 (11.2% of claims that week)
- Education Services: 1,996 (10.8%)
- Construction: 1,938 (10.4%)
- Accommodation and Food Services: 1,762 (9.5%)
- Professional and Technical Services: 1,710 (9.2%)
- Public Administration: 1,249 (6.7%)
- Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services: 1,229 (6.6%)
- Retail Trade: 1,125 (6.1%)
- Manufacturing: 946 (5.1%)
- Finance and Insurance: 819 (4.4%)
The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell slightly to 787,000, evidence of a job market stumbling in the face of the viral pandemic and the damage it has inflicted on the economy for nearly 10 months.
Thursday's figure from the Labor Department, a slight decline from the previous week, showed that many employers are still cutting jobs as the pandemic tightens business restrictions and leads anxious consumers to stay home.
At the same time, the number of people who are receiving regular state unemployment aid fell 125,000 to 5.1 million. And fewer people were on extended unemployment benefit programs.
On Friday, the government will likely issue a gloomy jobs report for December. Economists expect it to show that hiring slowed for a sixth straight month — and possibly that employers shed positions for the first time since the job market collapsed in April just after the pandemic erupted.
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