Colo. misses unemployment extension by two-tenths of 1 percent

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The list of states eligible for an extension of emergency unemployment benefits was released today – and Colorado did not make the cut.

To qualify for the extension the state’s unemployment needed to average 6 percent for the three-month period between November and January.

Colorado’s unemployment averaged 5.9 percent during that time.

“We couldn’t believe it. We missed it by two-tenths of 1 percent,” said Office of Government spokesman Bill Thoennes. “We just missed it by a shadow.”

He said state economists calculated the state’s unemployment rate to be well beyond the 6 percent range but still below 7 percent.

However, the federal government uses a slightly different calculations system and January’s unemployment rate came in high but was later readjusted to a lower rate.

“So, we were very surprised,” Thoennes said. “But it put us in an awkward position. We’re glad we’re not like those states that have double-digit unemployment numbers, but we also know there are a lot of people who need extended benefits.”

He said he could not say exactly how many people this will affect.

The good news, however, is that February numbers will be released March 27, and state economists are, once again, certain Colorado will qualify for the benefit extension.

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