01/25/2011 04:30 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Colorado Unemployment Rate Rises To 8.8%, May Trigger Emergency Jobless Benefits

Colorado's unemployment rate rose to 8.8% in the month of December, the highest it's been in three nearly three decades.

The Colorado Department of Labor released the numbers on Tuesday. The report showed that unemployment (not adjusted for season) increased in 32 of Colorado's 64 counties, decreased in 23, and remained unchanged in nine.

Ellen Golombek, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, insisted that there are still reasons for optimism. "Despite the rising unemployment rate, we've had over the year wage and salary employment growth in Colorado for the first time in almost two and a half years," she said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Denver Business Journal reports that the increase in Colorado's unemployment rate could make the state eligible for 6 extra weeks of "Tier IV" emergency unemployment compensation.

Colorado would be the 33rd state to reach Tier IV of unemployment coverage.

According to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, citizens who have an active claim would automatically receive Tier IV compensation.