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Colorado's unemployment rate reached 8.4% in December

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Robert Davis | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Colorado’s unemployment rate increased to 8.4% in December, up from 6.4% the previous month, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) said Friday.

The increase in seasonally adjusted unemployment was driven by a significant decrease in nonfarm labor, according to the department. It also puts Colorado nearly two percentage points above the 6.7% national unemployment rate.

In total, nonfarm payroll jobs decreased by 20,300 between November and December. Private sector payroll jobs decreased by 20,600, while government added 300 jobs, according to CDLE.

Colorado has gained back 55.9% of the nonfarm jobs it lost between February and April due to COVID-19 restrictions, which puts the state slightly ahead of the national job recovery average of 55.6%, CDLE said. Year-over-year, Colorado’s nonfarm payroll jobs have decreased by over 150,000. The private sector has lost over 120,000 jobs and there are over 30,800 fewer jobs in government.

Between November and December, food service and accommodation employees filed the most unemployment claims when compared to other industries. Almost 44% of claims filed for the week ending December 5, 2020 were filed by food service and accommodation workers.

It wasn’t until the week ending January 2, 2021 that workers from other industries filed more claims when health care workers filed 11.9% of the total claims for the week, according to CDLE data.

For the week ending January 16, CDLE said it did not report any new unemployment claims “due to the deployment of its new online unemployment benefits system.”

CDLE launched its new MyUI+ system on January 10. Shortly thereafter, the system flagged 20% of new claims as fraudulent, causing CDLE to seek guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor.

CDLE said it anticipates reporting unemployment claim numbers in its January 28 press release.