Thousands of Coloradans have lost their jobs since businesses across the state cut their hours or shut down completely as part of officials’ attempts to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
COVID-19 IN COLORADO
The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:
- MAP: Known cases in Colorado.
- TESTING: Here’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
- WRITE ON, COLORADO: Tell us your coronavirus stories.
- STORY: For diabetes patients, new health threats and cost concerns surface during coronavirus
It began on March 14 when Gov. Jared Polis ordered the closure of the state’s ski areas, leaving scores out of work. Then, on March 16, Polis shut down Colorado restaurants and bars to in-person dining for at least 30 days in an order that also shuttered theaters, casinos, gyms and large public venues.
The impact was immediate: 20,700 Coloradans filed claims in the three days after Polis’ orders began. On March 19, alone, there were 10,000 new filings, up nearly 50% from the day before, when outages plagued the online filing system, said Cher Haavind, deputy executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Unemployment.
After a 25% decline in new weekly claims for the week ended April 5, the following week shot back up to 104,217 initial claims. In the four weeks ending April 18, 279,199 initial claims of unemployment were filed in Colorado. That represents nearly 10% of Coloradans who were in employed in February, according to the labor department.
Colorado began accepting applications from self-employed, gig workers and workers not eligible for regular unemployment on April 20 and in the first three days more than 30,000 workers made claims. By the end of the first week, 40,906 self-employed workers had filed for benefits, as of April 25.
The $2 trillion federal stimulus package expands unemployment benefits to furloughed workers. It offers an additional $600 a week for four months to workers furloughed during the coronavirus shutdowns.
Typically, Colorado’s unemployment compensation is 55% of a worker’s salary and lasts for 26 weeks. The federal plan is on top of regular unemployment pay for laid-off Coloradans. Independent contractors and gig workers, like Uber drivers, also qualify for the $600 though not regular state unemployment since they don’t pay into the system.
In order to understand the employment blow COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is having on Colorado, The Colorado Sun is tracking weekly unemployment claim filings. See the chart below for the latest figures:
Last updated at 7:38 a.m. on April 30, 2020.
Colorado’s unemployment claims since January
Colorado’s unemployment claims since 2000
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The map below from The Associated Press highlights the number of hospitality workers and their average annual income by county along with the number of hospitality businesses. It is helpful in illustrating the potential impact of job loss to so many across the nation.
Job resources for employees, employers
- Find out HERE about unemployment pay eligibility, read the FAQs, or estimate your payments
- File a claim: coloradoui.gov/fileaclaim
- File by phone: 303-318-9000 or 1-800-388-5515. Call center hours are posted HERE
- Don’t want to wait on hold? First-time claimants fill out this call back form
- Never got or lost your PIN? Fill out this form
- Fix a date or backdate an existing claim: Fill out this form
- Request a payment every other week: 303-813-2800, 888-550-2800 or at myui.coworkforce.com/Welcome
- Change payment method: Start here
- Reopen a claim: Start here
- Ask a question at Dept. of Labor virtual town hall: colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/covid-19/town-halls
- Get help by phone for regular unemployment (expect a long wait): 303-318-9000 or 1-800-388-5515; Spanish: 303-318-9333 or 1-866-422-0402; Deaf or hard of hearing: 303-318-9016 or 800-894-7730
- For Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: File here or call 303-536-5615
- Rejected? Appeal online or call 303-318-9299 (FAQs on appeals)
- Didn’t get paid? File a wage complaint (More info here)
Looking for a job?
- Search Colorado’s job portal: connectingcolorado.com (Tip: search for “neutral” location for work-from-home jobs)
- Contact your local workforce center: yourworkforcecenter.com
- Companies that have increased hiring in Colorado: CVSHealth, Amazon, Walmart, grocery stores
- Health care staffing agencies: Aya Healthcare, Nurse Finders, Maxim Healthcare, Colorado’s volunteer health care match
- Gig-economy firms delivering food or other items are hiring: Instacart, DoorDash, Amazon, Indeed.com’s list
- Work-from-home jobs: Flexjobs
- Get alerted when jobs match your skills profile: LinkedIn
- Trade job tips and network online: Upstream
- Alternatives to layoffs: state Dept. of Labor recommends its work-share or job-attached programs, which allow for reduced hours and unemployment pay.
- U.S. Small Business Administration is offering federal disaster loans of up to $2 million with 3.75% interest for for-profits and 2.75% for nonprofits. Details
- City of Denver is offering $7,500 cash grants to qualifying small businesses. Apply
- Get advice from state’s Small Business Development Center Network, with offices statewide
- Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ads to small businesses. Details
- Kiva, which crowdfunds loans to small businesses, is offering 0% interest loans to entrepreneurs during the pandemic. Details
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