According to a Colorado Department of Labor and Employment household survey, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined two-tenths of a percentage point in May to 6.2 percent. During the same period, the national unemployment rate decreased three-tenths of a percentage point to 5.8 percent, a CDLE-issued news release said.  

Other highlights from the household survey: 

  • Colorado’s labor force grew by 1,300 in May to 3,198,100. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force was 68.6 percent in May, just below the pre-pandemic February 2020 labor force participation rate of 68.7 percent. 

  • The number of individuals employed in Colorado increased by 7,200 in May to 3 million, which represents 64.4 percent of the state’s 16+ population. While Colorado’s employment-to-population ratio continues to improve since April 2020, when it was 57 percent, it is still well below the pre-pandemic level of 66.8 percent. 

  • The Colorado counties with the highest unemployment rates in May were: 
    San Miguel (11.4 percent), Pitkin (8.5 percent), Huerfano (8 percent), Pueblo (8 percent), Gilpin (6.9 percent), and Summit (6.9 percent). El Paso County's unemployment rate, according to the CDLE, is 5.8 percent. County-level unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted and are directly comparable to the state's May unadjusted rate of 5.7 percent. 

Establishment survey data 

"Employers in Colorado added 17,100 nonfarm payroll jobs from April to May for a total of 2,708,400 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 16,300 and government added 800 jobs. Over the past 13 months, Colorado has gained back 265,200 of the 375,800 nonfarm payroll jobs lost between February and April of last year. That translates to a job recovery rate of 70.6 percent, which exceeds the U.S. rate of 65.9 percent," the release said. 

Other highlights from the establishment survey: 

  • Private industry sectors with significant job gains in May were: leisure and hospitality (~14,400), trade, transportation, and utilities (~3,300), and professional and business services (~2,600). Significant over the month private sector job loss occurred in other services (~1,800). 

  • Since May 2020, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 188,600, with the private sector growing by 183,600 jobs and government adding an additional 5,000 jobs, the CDLE reported, adding the largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (~93,900), trade, transportation, and utilities (~43,900), and education and health services (~20,100). During that same period, construction (~4,200), mining and logging (~2,000) and information (~1,900) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 7.5 percent, compared to the U.S. rate of 8.9 percent, the CDLE reported. 

  • Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased from 33.5 to 33.9 hours, while average hourly earnings increased from $31.42 to $31.79, nearly a $1.50 more than the national average hourly earnings of $30.33.