Colorado unemployment claims hit a new record as job losses pile up |

Colorado unemployment claims hit a new record as job losses pile up

Data for Eagle County is set to be released Friday

Eagle County will transition to the blue phase of its transition trail map on Monday, which allows restaurants to open at reduced capacity and for gatherings of up to 50 people.
Chris Dillmann |

The COVID-19 crisis hit the Vail Valley with an economic gut punch, but we’re not in an economic ice age yet.

“Tourism took the biggest hit, so we’re taking it on the chin,” said Chris Romer of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce.

Thursday’s state and national unemployment data confirmed that joblessness is high across the country, but like COVID-19 numbers, the rate of increase is slowing significantly.

Unemployment claims in Colorado for a single-week stretch hit a record-setting 104,217 last week as claims made by workers impacted by COVID-19 rolled through the state system. The data was through April 11. However, claim numbers dropped to 2,037 new claims on Monday, said Jessica Valand of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

The federal, local and state recovery efforts are helping buoy the economy by helping people get back to work, Romer said.

“It’s unprecedented, but a lot of people are rowing in the same direction,” he said.

County-by-county data out soon

County-by-county unemployment data lags about two weeks behind national numbers, Valand said. She’s Workforce Colorado’s regional director for the northwestern part of the state, which includes Eagle County. The latest data is scheduled to be released Friday.

For the week of March 7, Eagle County saw just 11 jobless claims. However, by the week of March 28 following COVID-19 forced furloughs and layoffs, Eagle County claims soared to 1,975 in a single week, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

In the previous four weeks prior to April 11, 231,610 Coloradans filed for unemployment, a year-over-year increase of 5,831%, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

Markets dominated by the leisure and hospitality industries — service sector jobs in places like Eagle County — were hit the hardest, Economic Policy Institute calculated.

National rate also soaring

The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday morning that more than 22 million unemployment claims have been filed in the last four weeks, based on a weekly average of 5,508,500 over the last four weeks.

That raises the nation’s unemployment rate to 8.2% for the week ending April 4, up 3.1% from the week before, according to the Department of Labor.

Apply even if you’re seasonal

If your employer is closed because of COVID-19 and you’re out of a job, you should file for unemployment, even if you’re a seasonal worker, Valand said.

You have nothing to lose by filing, Valand said.

To begin the process, go to, Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment.

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