Labor Shortage Continues As Unemployment Rates Fall Across 10-County Northwest Area

Household Survey Data:

According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was little changed in July at 6.1 percent. During the same period, the national unemployment rate fell five-tenths of a percentage point to 5.4 percent.
Other highlights from the household survey:

  • Colorado’s labor force decreased by 2,800 in July to 3,193,600. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force was 68.3 percent in July, slightly below the pre-pandemic February 2020 labor force participation rate of 68.7 percent.
  • The number of individuals employed in Colorado grew by 400 in July to 2,999,500, which represents 64.2 percent of the state’s 16+ population. Colorado’s employment-to-population ratio has improved since April 2020, when it was 57.0 percent, but is still well below the pre-pandemic level of 66.8 percent.
  • The Colorado counties with the highest unemployment rates in July were: Pueblo (8.6%), Huerfano (8.4%), Las Animas (7.0%), Adams (6.8%), and Gilpin (6.8%). County-level unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted and are directly comparable to Colorado’s July unadjusted rate of 5.9 percent.

Business Highlights:

Employers in Colorado added 14,800 nonfarm payroll jobs from June to July for a total of 2,733,600 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private-sector payroll jobs increased 8,500 and the government added 6,300 jobs. Over the past 15 months, Colorado has gained back 290,400 of the 375,800 nonfarm payroll jobs lost between February and April of last year. That translates to a job recovery rate of 77.3 percent, which exceeds the U.S. rate of 74.5 percent.
Other highlights from the establishment survey:

  • June estimates were revised down to 2,718,800, and the over the month change from May to June was a gain of 10,000 rather than the originally estimated increase of 10,800 (monthly revisions are based on additional responses from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates).
  • Private industry sectors with significant job gains in July were: professional and business services (~5,000), leisure and hospitality (~4,300), and education and health services (~1,000). Significant over the month private-sector job loss occurred in construction (~1,600) and trade, transportation, and utilities (~1,600).
  • Since July 2020, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 140,500, with the private sector growing by 124,000 jobs and the government adding an additional 16,500 jobs. The largest private-sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (~53,100), professional and business services (~25,300), and trade, transportation, and utilities (~24,200). During that same period construction (~2,600) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 5.4 percent, compared to the U.S. rate of 5.2 percent.
  • Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased from 33.2 to 33.9 hours, while average hourly earnings increased from $30.51 to $31.84, a dollar and thirty cents more than the national average hourly earnings of $30.54.