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Unemployment Claims Up In Roaring Fork Valley, Tourism Sector Hit Hard

Apr 20, 2020

This chart, made with data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, shows an extraordinarily high number of unemployment claims in three Roaring Fork Valley counties.
Credit Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

During the first week of April, new unemployment claims across Colorado were up 3836% from last year’s average. According to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, nearly 200,000 new claims have been filed statewide since the coronavirus pandemic began.

All three of the counties in the Roaring Fork Valley ranked among the top half of all counties for percentage increase in new unemployment claims. In the week ending on April 4, Eagle County had the fifth highest percentage increase in the state.

Beginning with the week ending March 7, Eagle County has had 4,566 new unemployment claims, Garfield County has had 2,496 and Pitkin County has had 1,647.

The three industries with the most new unemployment claims were "restaurants and other eating places," "other amusement and recreation industries" and "traveler accommodation."

The tourism industry has been hit particularly hard, made evident by the state’s latest data. For the week ending April 1, the three industries with the most new unemployment claims were “restaurants and other eating places,” “other amusement and recreation industries” and “traveler accommodation.” Those three categories combined accounted for 25% of statewide unemployment claims that week.

While the number of unemployment claims is extraordinarily high, it is no longer trending upwards. The most recent week saw 6,000 fewer statewide unemployment claims than the one before. Eagle and Garfield counties both saw a dip in claims during the same time period, while Pitkin County saw only a marginal increase.