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Colorado’s COVID-19 unemployment payments greatly surpass weekly average during Great Recession

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DENVER, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) announced Thursday that the state is paying three times more unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic compared to the 2009-10 Great Recession.

A total of 317,583 people have filed for regular unemployment initial claims over the past five weeks. By the end of the week on April 25, there were 38,384 initial regular unemployment claims filed.

In addition, there were 40,906 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial unemployment claims -- gig worker, self-employed -- filed between April 20 and 25. 

The CDLE says it has paid more than 75% of all unemployment claims filed since March 15th. 

The numbers below detail the benefits paid since the beginning of April:

Benefits paid: Regular Unemployment Insurance
Week ending April 25: $86.1 million
Week ending April 18:  $74.1 million
Week ending April 11: $62.0 million
Week ending April 4: $29.8 million
Average 2020 weekly benefits paid for weeks prior: $8.7 million

Recession comparison of regular UI benefits paid:
During the height of the Great Recession (2009-10), $19 million in regular UI 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.

The CDLE says it also started paying Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) over the last week.

PUC provides eligible claimants (regular UI and PUA) and extra $600 per week. Claimants do not need to take action to receive their additional benefit amount.

Below is more information on the claims by industry:

Top 5 industries with highest claims for the week ending on April 11: 
Accommodation and Food Services: 8,174
Retail Trade: 7,220
Healthcare and Social Service: 5,527  
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation: 2,670
Other Services (nail salons, barbers, etc.): 2,367

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Zachary Aedo

Zach is a reporter for KRDO and Telemundo Surco. Learn more about Zach here.


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