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Unemployment Continues to Haunt Colorado

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In a ranking of states that have seen their unemployment claims recover the most since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado comes in at No. 40, according to WalletHub. Claims at the beginning of February were up over 924% compared to the start of the pandemic.

The personal finance website noted that pandemic unemployment has wiped out all of the job gains since the Great Recession. Nearly 9 million jobs were lost during the recession, but new jobs increased by 22.7 million between 2010 and 2020. Over 78 million jobs have been lost since the start of the pandemic.

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“It has now been over a year since the first COVID-19 case was identified in the U.S. While vaccine distribution is ongoing, it has experienced a slow rollout, and it will still be months before the general public can get vaccinated,” according to WalletHub.

Unemployment in Colorado was 6.6% as of January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Construction jobs

Construction was deemed an essential business early in the pandemic, and builders were able to continue working while adhering to social distancing measures designed to prevent further spread of the virus. Still, employment fell over 14% in April 2020 from the start of the year, and is still working its way back up to early 2020 levels.

BLS reported that construction jobs fell by 61,000 in February, but noted that these losses were mostly in the nonresidential specialty trade and heavy and civil engineering sectors. Industrywide, jobs are down 308,000 from a year ago, according to the agency. BLS theorized that severe weather in February contributed to lower employment numbers in construction. As of February, construction unemployment was at 9.6%.

The decline in construction jobs in Colorado was less pronounced. Construction jobs in the state fell almost 6.5% in April 2020 from the start of the year. However, the recovery has been more faltering. As of January, Colorado construction jobs have only recovered 3% from the April 2020 decline, compared to a 13% recovery for the industry nationwide over the same time period.

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