DENVER — Colorado saw 12,149 initial regular unemployment claims filed last week, down from 15,603 the prior week, according to newly released data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
There were also 6,414 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance initial unemployment claims filed by gig workers and the self-employed.
The accommodations and food service industry saw the most claims filed, followed by retail, health care, administration, waste management and manufacturing.
Over the past 11 weeks a total of 433,552 regular unemployment initial claims have been filed. Including PUA claims, that total jumps to 517,414.
The week that ended May 30 saw $95.3 million in regular unemployment claims paid out. During the height of the Great Recession in 2009 and 2010, weekly payouts averaged about $19 million. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak the previous monthly high was In May 2009 when $102.8 million in benefits were paid out. “Approximately $315 million and $373 million in regular UI benefits were paid out in April and May 2020, respectively,” according to a CLDE report.
Colorado’s unemployment trust fund is carrying a balance of roughly $625 million to $650 million, CDLE senior economist Ryan Gedney said.
The fund is expected to add $100 million or slightly more in employer contributions over the next three months, but that’s unlikely to be enough to remain solvent.
Current expenditure levels from the trust fund “indicate insolvency by late July or early August,” Gedney said. “But that timeline could change if weekly benefit amounts vary from our $90 million weekly assumption.”
If the fund becomes insolvent, the state will shift to a higher range of premiums and implement a solvency surcharge, both based on other factors that determine a company’s premium.
Despite the urgency of the accounting imbalance, officials noted that workers are unlikely to experience additional hardship should the fund become insolvent.
“We have not ever failed to pay benefits despite the status of the state’s unemployment trust fund,” CLDE spokeswoman Cher Haavind said. “For a claimant, [insolvency] should be an invisible impact.”
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