Colorado Announced Recent Labor Force Developments


Denver, CO  (CompNewsNetwork) - Colorado's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate jumped four-tenths of one percentage point in December to 4.5 percent, according to Donald J. Mares, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.  "A softening national economy along with continued weakness in construction and manufacturing is beginning to have an impact upon Colorado's labor force,"noted Mares.  Over the last two months the jobless rate has increased 0.8 percentage points, the largest cumulative two month increase in about six years. Last December the unemployment rate stood at 4.0 percent.

The seasonally adjusted results from the household survey showed that the number of employed Coloradans edged downward 11,800 in December to 2,602,700.  Total employment is up 27,700 over the past twelve months.  The number of unemployed residents increased 10,600 during the month to 121,500.  Last year at this time unemployment stood at 106,500. 

Fifty-four of Colorado's 64 counties posted higher unemployment rates in December, nine experienced lower rates, and one remained unchanged.  Rio Blanco County had the lowest rate at 2.2 percent while San Juan County registered the highest rate at 8.3 percent.

Despite the rise in unemployment over the past two months preliminary results indicate that Colorado's job market displayed some improvement in 2007.  At 3.8 percent, the State's annual average unemployment rate fell from the 4.3 percent recorded in 2006.  Nonfarm job growth for all of 2007 is estimated to be 45,500 or 2.0 percent and marks the fourth straight year of job gains.  As usual, labor force and employment data for the past several years will be revised and are scheduled to be released in March.

Wage and Salary Employment

According to the monthly survey of Colorado businesses, wage and salary employment rose 19,700 during the month to 2,366,400.  The gain exceeded seasonal expectations, with nine of the State's eleven major industries adding positions.  Highly seasonal industries saw the most robust employment changes.  Ski industry hiring prompted leisure and hospitality payrolls to rise 12,800 and holiday retail hiring drove employment in trade, transportation and utilities up 6,900.  Professional and business services gained 1,800 positions and financial activities trended up 1,500.  Education and health services realized 1,300 net hires and other services added 800 positions.  Manufacturing gained 500, while information, along with natural resources and mining, edged up 300 jobs apiece.   

Cold, snowy weather during the reference week contributed to the loss of 5,200 jobs in construction.  Government experienced a typical employment decline of about 1,300 with the losses concentrated in state and local education.

Since last December, payroll employment has grown 45,900, for an annual increase of 2.0 percent.  More than three-quarters of these positions came from three industries—professional and business services, up 13,500; trade, transportation and utilities, up 10,900; and education and health services, up 10,300.  Leisure and hospitality gained 7,200 workers and government added 5,700.  Natural resources and mining comprises just over 1 percent of total nonfarm employment, but its 4,400 new positions accounted for about 10 percent of Colorado's over the year growth.  Other services gained 2,000 workers, information payrolls increased by 1,600, and financial activities remained unchanged over the year. 

Manufacturing shed 6,300 workers since last December and construction pared 3,400.

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