Nearly a quarter of a million Coloradans have filed unemployment claims in the past four weeks, and one sector of the workforce has been especially hard hit.

According to the State Labor Department,  more than 21,000 Colorado residents in the accommodation and food services industry have lost their jobs. That's more than twice the number of lost jobs in the next biggest sector. Nearly 10,000 workers in healthcare and social services have filed unemployment claims.

Obviously, the food service industry is huge and it's not surprising that there is such a large number of workers represented in unemployment lines. Even though many restaurants have stayed open by providing carryout options, the need for restaurant staff has been severely restricted.

The third biggest segment of the population that is without work right now is in retail trade where over 7,000 people have filed claims, Nearly 6,000 residents connected to service jobs are without work, and there are more than 4,000 Coloradans without jobs in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector.

If you are one of the fortunate ones who have been able to avoid being the victim of company layoffs, you should consider yourself to be extremely blessed. For those that have the misfortune of being without a job right now, I would offer some words of encouragement. Though we aren't there yet, it does feel like we are closer to the end of the shutdown than we have ever been. Hang in there, stay strong, and may we all lend a helping hand to a friend or neighbor in need.

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