Colorado had more than 19,000 unemployment claims last week, a 737% increase from the previous week, as businesses laid off workers amid the widespread economic shutdown because of the coronavirus, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.
The state labor department reported more than 25,000 claims last week, up from 1,325 the previous week, in a state where companies very recently struggled to find workers in a booming economy. Nationwide, nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for benefits last week, almost five times the previous record set in 1982.
Gov. Jared Polis’ orders to close thousands of non-essential businesses, Colorado’s ski resorts in peak season, and in-house service at thousands of restaurants and bars are designed to reduce the coronavirus transmission rate. That accelerated Colorado’s unemployment claims, especially in the food and hospitality industries. A statewide shelter-in-place order that went into effect Thursday will likely increase unemployment claims going forward.