DENVER — For the first time in three months, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) said initial claims for regular unemployment fell below 10,000, with 9,882 claims filed for the week ending June 20.
CDLE also reported that 10,385 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims were filed last week. That's down from the week ending in June 13, when 17,945 PUA claims were filed.
During a weekly press call Thursday, state labor officials announced plans to address long wait times at the unemployment call center.
The department said it's working alongside Google to implement a solution. Phase 1 of the plan is expected to launch in mid-July and would include technology that allows a caller to engage with a virtual agent to get basic answers to their questions.
If the claimant was not able to get their question answered, they could schedule an appointment to get a call back. The CDLE said phase 2 and 3 of the plan would expand on the functionality of the service.
Also on Thursday, the CDLE announced a new web page aimed at detecting fraud. This comes after an announcement last week where the state stopped payment on thousands of suspected fraudulent claims that would have totaled $34 million.
Other states have reported issues with fraudulent claims over the past few weeks. Fraudulent claimants tend to use a stolen identification, file a claim for PUA and request benefits for back weeks
Over the last 14 weeks, a total of 466,645 regular unemployment initial claims have been filed and a grand total of 588,988 claims, including federal PUA benefits, according to the CDLE.
The department also announced Thursday that it has paid out approximately $2.7 billion in unemployment benefits since March 29. That number includes regular unemployment benefits, those filing PUA claims and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) claims, which provides eligible claimants an extra $600 in federal benefits each week.
Benefits paid since March 29:
- Regular UI: $971 million
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (gig workers/self-employed): $327 million
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation ($600/weekly UI benefits to eligible claimants): About $1.47 Billion
Top 10 industries with highest Initial claims
- Accommodation and Food Services: 1,172 (11.6% of claims for week)
- Education Services: 1,138 (11.3%)
- Healthcare and Social Service: 1,058 (10.5%)
- Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services: 909 (9.0%)
- Retail Trade: 864 (8.5%)
- Manufacturing: 845 (8.4%)
- Transportation and Warehousing: 670 (6.6%)
- Construction: 510 (5.0%)
- Professional and Technical Services: 504 (5.0%)
- Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation: 453 (4.5%)
The CDLE also announced last week that from April to May, state employers added 68,800 jobs and the state's unemployment rate decreased 2 percentage points to 10.2%.
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