DENVER (AP) — Colorado unemployment claims related to the coronavirus pandemic’s economic blows dropped for a seventh consecutive week, but nearly half a million workers have filed regular claims for benefits since the pandemic’s beginning, the state labor department said Thursday.

More than 12,000 people filed for regular state benefits the week ending May 30, compared to more than 15,000 the week ending May 23, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reported. More than 430,000 claims have been filed and processed since March 14.

That figure accounts for more than 16% of the state’s total workforce that’s eligible for the program, according to the U.S. Employment and Training Administration, an agency within the labor department.

More than 6,400 people sought Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for gig workers and the self-employed the week ending May 30 — bringing the total seeking that federal aid to more than 517,000 since early March, the state said.

As in previous weeks, the accommodation and food services sectors saw the highest numbers of claims.

As of May 23, 245,445 total people in Colorado were receiving unemployment benefits, or more than 9% of all eligible employees in the state.

Nationally, nearly 1.9 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, evidence that many employers are still cutting jobs even as the gradual reopening of businesses has slowed the pace of layoffs. The total number of people who are receiving jobless aid rose slightly to 21.5 million, down from a peak of nearly 25 million two weeks ago but still at a historically high level.

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