December Unemployment Rates In Most Northwest Workforce Area Counties Drop

26th January, 2022 by VCBA

Household survey data:

According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point in December to 4.8 percent. The national unemployment rate declined by three-tenths of a percentage point to 3.9 percent.  
Other highlights from the household survey:

  • Colorado’s labor force increased by 8,500 in December to 3,208,400. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force improved to 68.3 percent last month. The state continues to experience a faster rate of recovery in the participation rate than the U.S. 
  • The number of individuals employed in Colorado grew by 18,000 in December to 3,054,100, which represents 65.0 percent of the state’s 16+ population. Colorado’s employment-to-population ratio has trended upward over the past four months. 
  • The Colorado counties with the highest unemployment rates in December were: Pueblo (6.4%), Huerfano (6.3%), Las Animas (5.5%), Fremont (5.5%), and Rio Grande (5.2%). County-level unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted and are directly comparable to Colorado’s December unadjusted rate of 4.1 percent.

Business Highlights:

Employers in Colorado added 9,000 nonfarm payroll jobs from November to December for a total of 2,778,700 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 7,900 and government added 1,100 jobs. Over the past 20 months, Colorado has gained back 335,500 of the 375,800 nonfarm payroll jobs lost between February and April of 2020. That translates to a job recovery rate of 89.3 percent, which exceeds the U.S. rate of 84.0 percent. 
Other highlights from the establishment survey:

  •  November estimates were revised up to 2,769,700, and the over the month change from October to November was a gain of 14,100 rather than the originally estimated increase of 9,800 (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 December were: professional and business services (~1,900), financial activities (~1,200), manufacturing (~1,000), and other services (~1,000). There were no industries with significant over the month declines. 
  • Since December 2020, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 152,000, with the private sector growing by 139,900 jobs and government adding an additional 12,100 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (~85,600), professional and business services (~22,000), and trade, transportation, and utilities (~13,000). During that same period, construction (~600) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 5.8 percent, compared to the U.S. rate of 4.5 percent. 
  • Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 33.5 to 33.2 hours, while average hourly earnings increased from $31.20 to $33.28, nearly two dollars more than the national average hourly earnings of $31.31. 


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