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DENVER — A total of 67,334 Colorado residents filed for initial unemployment benefits last week, bringing the figure of state residents claiming they have lost their jobs to just more than 279,000.

The latest weekly data release from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment shows fewer unemployment claims for the week ending April 18 than for the week prior.

It is the last week of data showing claims only from people who are traditionally eligible for unemployment. On Monday this week, CDLE began taking applications for benefits from the self-employed and independent contractors who would not usually be eligible for assistance. That addition may cause a spike in enrollments when application figures this week are released. The department said more than 30,000 of those Coloradans applied this week.

The weekly figure of benefits paid also doubled, with the state paying $74.1 million in benefits the week ending April 18, compared with 62 million the week prior and just less than $30 million the week before that.

Approximately 4.47 million Americans overall made initial claims in the week ending April 18, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s figures Thursday morning, a drop of 810,000 million from the week prior. More than 26 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past five weeks.

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