New claims for unemployment insurance in Colorado continued to climb for the 5th straight week. 67,334 new claims were made during the week ending April 18, bringing the 5-week total of new claims to 298,944. However, the weekly claims were down from over 104,000 the week prior.

While this may represent a slowing rate of new filings, recent federal legislation now allows gig-workers, independent contractors, and self-employed business owners to file for unemployment benefits. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment suggested that in just the first few days of the new federal law change, nearly 30,000 initial claims were made by these categories of workers.

As the weekly number of initial claims may slow over coming weeks, the numbers to watch will be the level of continued claims, or the number of individuals who continue to file for unemployment benefits after making an initial claim. This will give the best indication of how quickly some of the recently announced policies to partially reopen much of the Colorado economy are having an impact.