DENVER – Nearly 420,000 people have filed for jobless aid in Colorado since the response to the coronavirus outbreak caused businesses to close, the state labor department said Thursday.
Last week, 41,313 people – about a third of them gig and self-employed workers – filed applications for unemployment benefits, down from 79,290 the week before. The latest filings brought the total of new requests for aid over the last seven weeks to 419,547, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said.
Last week, the state distributed $150.4 million in unemployment benefits. Of that, $65.6 million was paid by the federal government to cover self-employed and gig workers who are not normally covered by unemployment insurance. By comparison, during the Great Recession, the state paid out an average of $19 million in benefits every week.
Nationally, the equivalent of one in five Americans who had been employed in February have filed for unemployment benefits since the outbreak began.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.