employment

Colorado Springs had an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent in August, a drop from July’s 3.4 percent rate and nearly a percentage point lower than the 4.1 percent unemployment rate posted in August 2018.

According to the monthly news release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Colorado Springs had a civilian labor force of 361,256 in August, while 11,522 people were unemployed.

Colorado Springs was among 192 metropolitan areas that had August jobless rates below the U.S. rate of 3.8 percent. The national unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, was essentially unchanged from a year earlier.

Unemployment rates were lower in August than a year earlier in 224 of the 389 metropolitan areas listed in the report. A total of 82 areas had jobless rates of less than 3 percent, while two areas had rates of at least 10 percent.

The Portland-South Portland, Maine, area had the lowest unemployment rate: 1.7 percent.

Yuma, Ariz., and El Centro, Calif., had the highest unemployment rates: 23.0 percent and 22.1 percent, respectively.

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Workers in the Colorado Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area earned an average (mean) hourly wage of $24.73 in May 2018, about 1 percent below the nationwide average of $24.98, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly news release for August.

Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Stanley Suchman noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were lower than their respective national averages in 9 of the 22 major occupational groups, including legal; education, training, and library; and arts, design, entertainment, sports and media.

Three groups had significantly higher wages than their respective national averages: computer and mathematical; personal care and service; and healthcare support.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in occupational groups including computer and mathematical; business and financial operations and sales and related.

Conversely, groups including production, transportation and material moving, and management had employment shares significantly below their national representation.

One occupational group — computer and mathematical — was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories.

Colorado Springs had 14,930 jobs in computer and mathematical occupations, accounting for 5.3 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 3.0 percent share nationally.

The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $46.00, significantly above the national wage of $44.01.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the computer and mathematical group were software developers, applications (3,530), software developers, systems software (2,250), and computer user support specialists (1,510).

Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were software developers, systems software and information security analysts, with mean hourly wages of $56.76 and $51.88, respectively.

At the lower end of the wage scale were computer user support specialists ($26.28) and web developers ($33.17).

Location quotients allow exploration of the occupational make-up of a metropolitan area by comparing the composition of jobs in an area relative to the national average.  For example, a location quotient of 2.0 indicates that an occupation accounts for twice the share of employment in the area than it does nationally.

In the Colorado Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes El Paso and Teller counties, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the computer and mathematical group.

For instance, information security analysts were employed at 4.0 times the national rate in Colorado Springs, and systems software developers, at 2.9 times the U.S. average.

On the other hand, computer systems analysts had a location quotient of 0.9 in Colorado Springs, indicating that this particular occupation’s local and national employment shares were similar.

These statistics are from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, a federal-state cooperative program between BLS and State Workforce Agencies, in this case, the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment, that measures nonfarm employment, hours and earnings by industry.