County unemployment dips to 11.2 percent


By John Finefrock

Staff Writer

The unemployment rate in Archuleta County fell to 11.2 percent in May, compared to 16.4 percent in April, according to data provided to The SUN by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE).

In May, Archuleta County had 6,659 people in the labor force and 747, or 11.2 percent claiming unemployment.

Colorado’s unemployment rate in May was 10 percent, dropping from 12.2 percent in April.

Archuleta County’s initial unemployment claims had been on the rise since mid-March, when state health orders temporarily closed some local businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the week ending March 7, Archuleta County had 7 initial unemployment claims.

Since then, the highest number of initial unemployment claims was for the week ending on March 21, when there were 268 new claims in the county.

The following week, ending on April 4, had 224 initial unemployment claims in Archuleta County.

The weeks after demonstrated a downward trend, with 195 for the week ending April 11, then dipped into the 70s, 40s and 20s during late April and May.

Archuleta County had 13 initial unemployment claims for the week ending on June 13.

Continued unemployment claims in Archuleta County, not initial ones filed for the first time, totaled 504 for the week ending June 13 and 491 for the week ending June 20.

A June 25 press release from the CDLE outlines the unemployment situation for the state of Colorado.

The press release states that initial unemployment claims fell below 10,000 in the state for the first time in three months for the week ending June 20.

“Over the past 14 weeks, a total of 466,645 regular unemployment initial claims have been filed and a grand total of 588,988 claims, including federal PUA benefits,” the press release reads.

“The PUA program helps individuals who are not eligible for regular state UI benefits and who are unemployed, partially unemployed, unable to work, or unavailable to work as a direct result of a COVID-19 related reason,” states

A chart that details “Regular Unemployment Insurance Initial Claims” on the CDLE’s website shows that initial unemployment claims peaked statewide in the week ending on April 11 with over 100,000 new claims.

According to the chart, that was the only week during the COVID-19 pandemic that regular initial claims totaled above 100,000 new claims in a week.

The CDLE also announced that it has paid out approximately $2.7 billion in unemployment benefits since March 29.

The press release also notes the “Top 10 industries with highest initial claims” for the week ending June 20, which include: 

1. Accommodation and Food Services, 1,172 claims, or 11.6 percent of claims for the week.

2. Education Services, 1,138 claims, or 11.3 percent of claims for the week.

3. Healthcare and Social Service, 1,058 claims, or 10.5 percent of claims for the week.

4. Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services, 909 claims, or 9 percent of claims for the week.

5. Retail Trade, 864 claims, 8.5 percent of claims for the week.

6. Manufacturing, 845 claims, or 8.4 percent of claims for the week.

7. Transportation and Warehousing, 670 claims, or 6.6 percent of claims for the week.

8. Construction, 510 claims, or 5 percent of claims for the week.

9. Professional and Technical Services, 504 claims, or 5 percent of all claims for the week.

10. Arts, Entertainment and Recreation, 454 claims, or 4.5 percent of claims for the week.