State Labor Dept: Nearly 20,000* Jobless Claims Filed in Colorado Last Week | 750% Increase From Week Prior

For immediate release

Date: March 26, 2020
Contact: Office of Government, Policy and Public Relations -

*official numbers submitted to the USDOL, not applications received

NOTE: This release will go out each Thursday at 7:30 a.m and will include industry breakdowns and other data in the coming weeks

DENVER - Today the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment announced that 19,745 new unemployment claims were filed for the week ending March 21, 2020 (March 14-21). The week prior was 2,321. The highest weekly count of initial claims during the Great Recession occurred during the week of January 9, 2010 at 7,749. These numbers are part of  the official jobless claims numbers released by the U.S. Department of Labor each Thursday, based on reports from every state. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Department’s release, there was an increase of 3,001,000 claims nationally from the week prior. During the week ending March 21, the increase in initial claims are due to the impacts of the COVID-19 virus. Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus impacts. 

Earlier this week, the department added 90 staff to its Customer Service Center and implemented a last name filing system to provide greater access and stability to the online filing. The last name filing system launched Monday has allowed 45,000** applications into the system so far this week (Monday - Wednesday), double the number of applications accepted by the online system last week. 

“We know during these uncertain times there is a high level of stress on so many Coloradans, and benefits like unemployment are a critical lifeline to those who are suddenly finding themselves out of work,” said Joe Barela, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. “We are continuously reevaluating our systems to expand capacity and enhance stability and are working nonstop to meet the demand.” 

More information available at or from the U.S. Department of Labor at

**UI applications submitted to the division's system are preliminary, unofficial numbers and will always vary from the official data submitted to the US Dept of Labor each week due to processing factors including wage verification, eligibility, etc. They are an accurate representation of increased workload from week to week, however. 

# # #