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25,000 more Coloradans filed for unemployment last week, bringing coronavirus total to 476,000

The new filings continue a slowing trend over the past several weeks in the number of people submitting claims

The Fox Theater in Montrose is closed as life in Colorado shuts down in response to the new coronavirus. (William Woody, Special to The Colorado Sun)
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More than 25,000 more Coloradans filed initial unemployment claims last month, bringing the total number of people in the state who have sought jobless benefits since the coronavirus crisis began to about 476,000.

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Of the new filings, 17,825 were regular unemployment claims while 7,633 were among gig workers and the self-employed, who traditionally aren’t eligible for benefits, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The latter group can receive aid thanks to Congress’ COVID-19 aid package.

The new filings continue a downward trend over the past several weeks in the number of people submitting claims.

The amount of regular unemployment benefits paid out, however, continues to eclipse previous record levels set during the Great Recession.

Last week, $88.8 million was paid out to regular unemployment claimants, compared with $19 million during the height of the Great Recession.

Across the U.S., more than 2.4 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week. Roughly 38.6 million people have now filed for jobless aid since the coronavirus forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their workforces, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The continuing stream of heavy job cuts reflects an economy that is sinking into the worst recession since the Great Depression. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated this week that the economy is shrinking at a 38% annual rate in the April-June quarter. That would be by far the worst quarterly contraction on record.

Nearly half of Americans say that either their incomes have declined or they live with another adult who has lost pay through a job loss or reduced hours, the Census Bureau said in survey data released Wednesday. More than one-fifth of Americans said they had little or no confidence in their ability to pay the next month’s rent or mortgage on time, the survey found.

During April, U.S. employers shed 20 million jobs, eliminating a decade’s worth of job growth in a single month. The unemployment rate reached 14.7%, the highest since the Depression. Millions of other people who were out of work weren’t counted as unemployed because they didn’t look for a new job.

On Friday, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment is expected to release more information about the state’s unemployment situation, including the unemployment rate from April.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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