Colorado unemployment claims (copy)

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First-time unemployment benefit claims declined for a second consecutive week while claims by self-employed persons, independent contractors and “gig” workers surged in the week ending July 25, state officials said Thursday.

The 8,008 regular unemployment claims were down 5.6% from the previous week, while claims by self-employed and similar workers jumped 22.9% to 9,727. That’s the most since more than 10,000 such claims were filed in the week ending June 20, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reported. As a result, claims rose 8.2% to 17,735.

Ryan Gedney, the agency’s senior economist, said the declining number of regular unemployment claims is “positive,” but he noted the weekly total is still slightly higher than any week during the Great Recession.

He said the department is unable to determine why claims from self-employed and other such workers have increased for two consecutive weeks since the agency does not track those numbers by industry.

The department has received 510,065 regular unemployment claims since mid-March and 154,467 claims from self-employed and similar workers since that program began April 20 for a total of 664,532 claims.

The agency paid out $76.6 million in regular unemployment claims last week and more than $4 billion in unemployment benefits since March 29, including an extra $600 a week in benefits that ended last week.

In El Paso County, the department received 1,057 regular first-time claims in the week ended July 11, up just six claims or 0.6% from the previous week, and 554 claims from self-employed and other such workers in the week ended July 18, up 9.3% from the previous week.

The agency has received nearly 52,000 regular claims since mid-March and 16,844 claims from self-employed and other such workers since that program began for a total of 68,840 claims of all types.

Contact Wayne Heilman 636-0234

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