New weekly unemployment claims in state hit 14,123, biometrics to be used to fight fraud

DENVER — An additional 14,123 people filed for traditional unemployment benefits in the week ending Jan. 9, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said Thursday.

The department also revised the prior week’s figure from 41,439 to 25,178, saying that the previous number was warped due to seasonality and a spike in fraudulent claims due to the expiration of the CARES Act.

No claims were made for state-level Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, as President Donald Trump signed the latest round of federal stimulus a day after the deadline to keep the program running without interruption.

In a call with reporters Thursday morning, the department said it received federal guidance to restart the program late last week and intends to use biometrics as an additional anti-fraud measure in the system by Jan. 27. It is now working to reprogram the system to be in line with federal rules and to start sending out funds as soon as practical.

The total number of continuing regular claims made in the state was at approximately 309,000 for the week of Jan. 2, including regular state benefits and ongoing expanded federal benefits. That increase from 277,616 in the week prior was driven primarily by an additional 38,000 regular claims continuing through the two periods.

In a call with reporters Thursday morning, CLDE senior economist Ryan Gedney said the department is taking an ad-hoc approach to adjusting previous claims data due to the interruption in federal aid and holds placed on accounts thought to be fraudulent.

“Continued claims is probably a preferable measure to look at when trying to derive economic meaning from claims activity,” he said.

Nationwide, the U.S. Labor Department said 965,000 Americans filed for first-time benefits in the period, an increase of 181,000 from the week prior and a further sign that skyrocketing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are holding back economic recovery.

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DENVER — An additional 14,123 people filed for traditional unemployment benefits in the week ending Jan. 9, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said Thursday.

The department also revised the prior week’s figure from 41,439 to 25,178, saying that the previous number was warped due to seasonality and a spike in fraudulent claims due to the expiration of the CARES Act.

No claims were made for state-level Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, as President Donald Trump signed the latest round of federal stimulus a day after the deadline to keep the program running without interruption.

In a call with reporters Thursday morning, the department said it received federal guidance to restart the program late last week and intends to use biometrics as an additional anti-fraud measure in the system by Jan. 27. It is now working to reprogram the system to be in line with federal rules and to start sending out funds as soon as practical.

The total number of continuing regular claims made in the state was at approximately 309,000 for the week of Jan. 2, including regular state benefits and ongoing expanded federal benefits. That increase from 277,616 in the week prior was driven primarily by an additional 38,000 regular claims continuing through the two periods.

In a call with reporters Thursday morning, CLDE senior economist Ryan Gedney said the department is taking an ad-hoc approach to adjusting previous claims data due to the interruption in federal aid and holds placed on accounts thought to be fraudulent.

“Continued claims is probably a preferable measure…