Press Release: More Than 46,000 Initial Unemployment Claims Filed March 29 - April 4

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For immediate release

Date: April 9, 2020
Contact: Office of Government, Policy and Public Relations -

-- Today the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) announced there were 46,065 initial unemployment claims filed the week ending April 4. Over the past three weeks 127,393 initial claims have been filed. The initial claims numbers are those weekly claims that are reported to the U.S. Department of Labor every week for the week prior and do not reflect all applications filed for unemployment.*

Claims by industry and benefits paid

Top 5 industries with highest claims (for the week ending March 21st)**

Accommodation and Food Services: 12,411
Healthcare and Social Service: 2,560
Other Services:*** 1,672
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation: 1,415
Retail Trade: 1,014

Payment requests made since March 16: 60,000+

Benefits paid for week ending April 4: $29.8 Million

Average 2020 weekly benefits paid for weeks prior: $8.7 Million

Recession comparison of benefits paid:

During the height of the Great Recession (2009-10), $19 million in benefits were paid out on an average weekly basis. $102.8 million in benefits were paid out in May 2009, the highest monthly total on record.

CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) Update

There are several provisions within the recently passed CARES Act that provide enhanced or extended unemployment benefits for workers. All of these new benefits are paid for by the federal government. The Unemployment Insurance Division is currently reprogramming its systems to administer these new benefits. All eligible workers will receive these benefits backdated and will not lose out on any benefit amount to which they were entitled.

We are working as quickly as we can to get these benefits into the hands of people who are in need during these unpredictable and unprecedented times, said Joe Barela, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA, is the program that will provide unemployment benefits, up to 39 weeks, to those not ordinarily eligible for them. This includes gig workers, individuals who are self-employed or contract employees, those who cannot telework while obeying a shelter order, and even those who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits. It also includes workers who were directly impacted by COVID-19, such as needing to care for a child whose school is closed or a dependent who tested positive for COVID-19 (see worksheet). This benefit is retroactive to January 27, 2020.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, or FPUC, provides $600 per week to any individual eligible for any of the Unemployment Compensation programs. This benefit begins March 29, 2020.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or PEUC, provides for an additional 13 weeks of benefits beyond the standard maximum of 26 weeks for traditional (regular) unemployment benefits.

Workers who believe they may be eligible for these benefits can begin gathering income statements and other documentation that might be required to file, but the Department is asking them to wait to file until the systems are ready to begin accepting claims.

* Initial claims are those claims filed to establish benefit eligibility. Initial claims are considered a reliable leading indicator of economic activity. All applications filed are those applications for benefits filed with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and may not have been through various eligibility determination e.g. wage verification, etc.

** Most recent industry-level claims data is for the week ending March 21st.

*** Other services include personal services like nail and beauty salons, barbers, etc

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