The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment recently released current numbers by county of initial unemployment claims. According to the data, numbers are continuing to decline as some segments of the economy are beginning to open up again. Over the course of just a few months, we’ve seen numbers rise drastically and now some areas are returning to near pre-COVID weekly averages.

In Las Animas County, the average initial unemployment claims hovered at about seven per week in 2019. By mid-March, that number nearly doubled to 13, then by the last week of March jumped to 118. In April, as the shutdown continued to be extended by the state, numbers rose to 131 claims in the first week.

As April progressed, stay-at-home efforts had begun showing a decline in cases throughout the state and with most of those laid off having already applied earlier for unemployment, numbers began declining again. By the last week of April, initial unemployment claims had dropped to 62.

In May, claims had decreased to hover around 30 for the last few weeks and are expected to continue to decline but remain higher than previous years’ weekly averages according to the CDLE website.

Statewide, the accommodation and food service industry continued to prove to be the hardest hit in terms of unemployment with 2,264 total claims for the week of May 24 through 30.

In total, Colorado saw $703 million dispersed as regular unemployment insurance benefits between March 29 and May 30. The total amount of weekly benefits paid for all weeks prior to that in 2020 came to just $8.7 million in comparison.

For more information about current numbers, visit the state’s Labor and Employment webpage at Colorado.gov/cdle.

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