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Colorado tops $1 billion in regular unemployment benefit payments since start of pandemic

Regular, PUA initial claims fell to lowest levels since pandemic's onset
Colorado tops $1 billion in regular unemployment benefit payments since start of pandemic
Posted at 3:38 PM, Jul 02, 2020

DENVER – Regular initial unemployment claims fell again last week in Colorado from the week prior, and initial claims for federal unemployment for self-employed workers were about two-thirds of what they were the week before.

Last week, regular initial claims fellow below 10,000 in a week for the first time since the novel coronavirus hit the state in earnest in mid-March – totaling 9,882 for the week ending June 20.

Last week — the week ending June 27 — 8,566 Coloradans filed initial regular claims and 6,173 federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims. Both numbers were down from last week.

But the state still paid out $81.8 million in regular unemployment benefits, signaling that benefits for continuing claims are still being paid out near the same levels as they were since mid-April, when unemployment skyrocketed in the state.

That amount is the lowest paid out by the state in 10 weeks, but just $3 million short of what the state paid out in the week ending June 13 and the week ending May 2.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment also released a chart showing just how vast and quickly unemployment skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic – even in comparison to the Great Recession.

colorado unemployment chart 2009-2020 covid unemployment
This July 2, 2020 chart from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment show just how vast and quickly unemployment skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic – even in comparison to the Great Recession.

The state has paid out $1.05 billion in regular unemployment benefits since March 29. It has also paid out around $352.4 million in PUA benefits from federal money and $1.6 billion in Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits – the $600 a week program for anyone receiving unemployment benefits of any kinds – over that same time period.

However, the overall payout between regular, PUA, and PUC benefits totaled around $250 million last week – the lowest since the federal unemployment programs went into effect the week of April 25.

Accommodation and food services still accounted for the highest number of claims with benefits paid for the week of June 13 – the week from which most-recent data are available – followed by health care and social service, administrative and support and waste management and remediation services, retail trade and manufacturing.