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Restaurants lead jobs rebound

Posted at 5:54 PM, Jul 17, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Now that dining rooms have reopened in Colorado, restaurants are hiring back employees they lost during the shutdown. The latest numbers released Friday by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment show businesses in the Leisure and Hospitality industry led the state in job gains with more than 40,600 jobs added.

"Since May, leisure and hospitality have regained nearly 50 percent of the 161,200 jobs lost from February to April," said Ryan Gedney, Senior Economist with the Department of Labor and Employment.

The statewide unemployment rate grew from 10.2 percent in May to 10.5 percent in June. However, Gedney explained that more than 100,000 people were added to the labor force last month raising the percentage. Roughly 126,000 Coloradans have gone back to work since early May, recovering more than one-third of the 342,300 jobs lost in the early months of the pandemic.

One sector which lost jobs last month was the government. Gedney said many of the 3,400 jobs lost in that sector are educators.

"State and local educational services are the primary drivers of those job losses in government and that is most likely due to the disruption to the end of the school year across the state," he said.

The labor department processes around 3,200 unemployment claims per day. Director Jeff Fitzgerald said his employees are trying to improve their service for people using the call center.

"We want to assure the customers that when we provide them with a two-hour window for their call back that we can actually meet that window," Fitzgerald said.

The Department wants to remind the public that the expanded unemployment benefits under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program of the stimulus bill will end July 25.

"We are trying to conduct some outreach to claimants so that they are not startled by the sudden end to this additional $600 a week," said spokesperson Cher Haavind.