up arrowThe employment picture in the state continues to present interesting trends, including a slightly better unemployment rate than the country but a loss of government jobs.

Employers in Colorado added 7,100 nonfarm payroll jobs from December to January and the state’s unemployment rate improved, now slightly better than the national rate, according to data released by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

It adds up to a total of 2,342,900 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 8,200 and government decreased 1,100. El Paso County posted an 8.8 unemployment rate — higher than the state and the nation.

According to the survey of households, the state unemployment rate decreased two-tenths of a percentage point to 7.3 percent.

The number of people actively participating in the labor force increased 6,000 to 2,753,500 and total employment increased 11,800 to 2,552,800 causing the number of unemployed to decline 5,800. The national unemployment rate increased one-tenth of one percentage point over the same period to 7.9 percent.

Over the year, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 35.0 to 34.3 hours and average hourly earnings increased from $24.55 to $25.20.

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The largest over the month private sector job gains were in trade, transportation and utilities and construction. Manufacturing declined by 1,200 jobs.