Colorado jobless fund needs loan |

Colorado jobless fund needs loan

Tim Hoover
The Denver Post
(HC) People are looking for a job at Denver Workforce Center on Friday. The unemployment rate climbed from 8.5 percent to 8.9 percent, the Labor Department reported. The Hyoung Chang/ The Denver Post

Colorado is borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government to keep afloat its unemployment-insurance fund, which will go broke in two weeks without the cash infusion.

Don Mares, director of the state Department of Labor and Employment, told lawmakers about the fund’s precarious condition Thursday at a meeting of the Joint Budget Committee.

Unemployed workers who get benefits won’t be affected, officials said, but premiums paid by employers are likely to increase.

“Like all states, Colorado has been hit hard,” Mares said later in a statement. “More people are tapping into the benefits.

“In November of 2009, we processed 22,222 new applicants. Just two years earlier, that monthly average was only about 11,100.”

Colorado’s unemployment rate in November was 6.9 percent. December numbers have not been released yet.

In addition to more claims, more higher-wage earners – who get more in benefits – are losing their jobs, officials said.

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