Press Release: State Labor Dept. Update for the Week Ending May 15th: Continued Decline in Initial Claims and a Return to Work Incentive

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For Immediate Release

Date: May 20, 2021
Contact: Office of Government, Policy and Public Relations -

Press Release: State Labor Dept. Update for the Week Ending May 15th: Continued Decline in Initial Claims and a Return to Work Incentive

(DENVER) — Today the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) reported that an estimated 4,132 regular initial unemployment claims were filed the week ending May 15th. There were also 712 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims filed for the same week. Since mid-March 2020, an estimated total of 935,203 regular initial unemployment claims have been filed for a grand total of 1,205,142 claims, when the PUA program is included.*

For the week ending May 8th, the number of continued weeks requested totaled 188,427. That includes the following totals by UI program: regular UI (58,324), PUA (50,976), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) (79,127). CDLE estimates those continued claims were filed by approximately 160,984 individuals (54,690 for regular UI; 40,518 for PUA, and 65,776 for PEUC).** Weekly initial and continued claims figures can be viewed in the attached PDF at the end of this press release.

*Note: CDLE will provide revisions to initial and continued claims data in next week’s press release. These revisions will go back to early January 2021 and will incorporate official adjustments for fraudulent activity. 

As announced yesterday, Governor Jared Polis has issued an Executive Order creating the Colorado Jumpstart program. Colorado Jumpstart is a return to work incentive program administered by CDLE, designed to help make the transition back to work for unemployed Coloradans, a successful one. Eligible claimants who return to work full time in May will receive a Colorado Jumpstart incentive payment of $1,600. Those who return to work full time in June will receive a payment of $1,200. Newly employed workers must maintain full time employment for at least eight weeks to receive the full incentive. A full list of eligibility requirements is posted on

Additional data

Benefits paid March 29, 2020 - May 15, 2021:
Weekly amounts for non regular UI programs can be viewed in the attached PDF at the end of this press release.

Regular UI: $2.96 Billion
Week ending May 15: $21.9 Million                

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
(gig workers/self-employed): $1.36 Billion

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
($600/weekly UI benefits to eligible claimants, CARES Act; $300/weekly UI benefits to eligible claimants, CAA; $300/weekly UI benefits to eligible claimants, ARP): $3.67 Billion                                                     

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
(extends unemployment benefits by up to 13 weeks, CARES Act;
 extends additional 11 weeks, CAA; extends additional 29 weeks, ARP): $923.4 Million

State Extended Benefits
(extends unemployment benefits an additional 13 weeks): $34.3 Million

Lost Wages Assistance                             
($300/weekly UI benefits to eligible claimants, fall 2020): $389.2 Million

Total: $9.34 Billion


Helping Coloradans with Reemployment Support

CDLE and its partners hold regular, no-cost training that can help unemployed Coloradans get rehired. A sampling of events is below and a complete list of events, workshops and training opportunities is available on the CDLE website


Trainings and Resources for Job Seekers
Please note that some registration links cover the same event over multiple days. Job seekers can see all available training dates by clicking on the drop down menu or “select a date” in the registration links.

Monday, May 24, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.: Pave the Way to Your Next Job: 
In-person only!--This workshop is an overview of the job search, covering activities such as applications, resumes and preparing for interviews. 918 10th St, Greeley, CO 80631

Tuesday, May 25, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.: Wyoming/Colorado Virtual Employment and Networking

Wednesday, May 26, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.: Military and Veterans Employment Expo

Thursday, May 27, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.: How to Use to Advance Your Job Search

Friday, May 28, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.: Emotional Intelligence 

Who’s Hiring

As of May 19, 2021, there are 101,662 job postings listed on, the state’s jobs database.

The following areas and industries have the most job openings as of May 19, 2021: 

  • Computer and mathematical (19,392)
  • Management (10,585)
  • Sales and related (10,077)

We’re hiring! Click here to browse the more than 400 jobs open with the State of Colorado right now. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and the Office of the Future of Work publish bi-weekly articles to share hiring trends and highlight online and in-person resources to connect workers with meaningful employment. Read the latest article here.

Sector of the WeekAs pandemic-related restrictions continue to ease up, an increasing number of employers are beginning to resume hiring. Each week we will highlight a sector that’s hiring. This week’s sector is administration. According to EMSI, 36,887 open positions in the industry were listed in Colorado just last week. In the past month, 9,813 administration jobs were listed on


Grants for Workers

  • COResponds is designed to help workers who are temporarily or permanently laid off due to the pandemic, including dislocated workers and long-term unemployed workers. The grant also serves people who are self-employed but have become unemployed or underemployed as a result of the pandemic. Read more about COResponds here.
  • RecoverCO helps Coloradans who are unemployed or underemployed as a result of the pandemic by providing comprehensive career and training services for a rapid return to work and supportive services to ease financial burdens during job search and training.  Read more about RecoverCO here.

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*Initial claims are claims filed to establish (via a new initial claim) or reestablish (through an additional initial claim after an intervening period of employment) benefit eligibility. Initial claims are typically 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.

As previously reported, the Department has identified an increase in regular UI fraudulent activity since the end of last year. Therefore, initial claims for the week ending May 15th have been adjusted in an attempt to account for fraudulent activity within regular UI. Going forward, CDLE will adjust regular UI initial claims data for fraudulent activity, as well as publish revisions to prior weeks, when necessary. PUA initial claims are also adjusted to account for fraudulent activity.

**Continued claims are filed to request payment for a given week after eligibility has been established. Weeks claimed provide information as to current labor market conditions.

Continued claims can be used as a proxy to roughly estimate the number of claimants receiving UI benefits in a given week. However, backdating of claims within PUA and PEUC (due to the reestablishment of those programs through the Continued Assistance Act) significantly limits the use of continued claims as the aforementioned proxy on a week-to-week basis. For an alternative source, CDLE recommends using the weekly regular UI, PUA, and PEUC individual continued claim counts provided above. The Department also produces a report that captures the number of UI payment recipients, by program type, on a monthly basis. The monthly data can be viewed in the final pages of the attached PDF at the end of this press release and has been updated through April 2021.

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Colorado Unemployment Insurance Charts Through Week Ending May 15th, 2021