Earlier this morning, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment released employment statistics from March to April of this year. According to an extensive survey of households, the state’s unemployment rate decreased to 2.3 percent, the lowest unemployment rate for Colorado since the surveys were initiated in 1976.
Here’s the release:
Employers in Colorado added 1,800 nonfarm payroll jobs from March to April for a total of 2,635,900 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 3,600 and government decreased 1,800. According to the survey of households, the unemployment rate decreased three-tenths of a percentage point in April to 2.3 percent. This is the lowest unemployment rate for Colorado since the series began in 1976.
The number of people actively participating in the labor force increased 12,100 over the month to 2,945,300 and the number of people reporting themselves as employed increased 19,500 to 2,876,900, causing the number of unemployed to decrease 7,300 and the unemployment rate to decline to 2.3 percent. The national unemployment rate decreased one-tenth of a percentage point in April to 4.4 percent. Over the year, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased from 33.2 to 33.6 hours and average hourly earnings increased from $27.42 to $27.72.
The largest over the month private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality, trade, transportation, and utilities, and other services. The largest over the month declines were in education and health services and construction.
Over the year, nonfarm payroll jobs increased 45,700, with an increase of 44,800 in the private sector and an increase of 900 in government. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality, trade, transportation, and utilities, and professional and business services. Mining and logging, and information declined over the year. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down one percentage point from 3.3 percent. The number of Coloradans participating in the labor force increased 67,900, total employment increased 95,900 and the number of unemployed decreased 28,000. The national unemployment rate declined from 5.0 percent in April 2016 to 4.4 percent in April 2017.
Statewide, nonfarm payroll jobs grew by an estimated 1,800 jobs. Private sector growth of 3,600 jobs was offset by the loss of 1,800 public sector jobs. In the months before March, Colorado was was averaging more than 4,000 new jobs a month.
Job growth in Colorado has slowed from more than 3 percent at the end of the recession to 1.8 percent, only slightly above the national average of 1.6 percent. Wage growth, at around 1 percent annually, is cause for concern according to Colorado senior state economist Ryan Gedney.
“It’s certainly sluggish,” he said, “but some of that may result from demographic factors. We have this wave of Baby Boomer retirements, and younger, less experienced workers are replacing them. Also, a lot of the job growth we’ve seen has been in lower paid jobs.”
Labor force participation was unchanged at around 67 percent. Although that rate has inched up slightly since the end of recession, it remains low compared to pre-recession levels.
“It hasn’t changed much in the last two years,” said Gedney. “You won’t see much movement in that index in any single month.”