Monday, November 29, 2010

Total employment fell in October in Colorado

Colorado lost 19,791 jobs in October, and the non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate rose slightly to 8.1 from September’s rate of 8.0 percent. According to the most recent employment data released by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, total employment in October, not seasonally adjusted, fell to 2,449,913 jobs.

More than 19,777 people left the work force during the month, which prevented any significant increase in the unemployment rate in spite of job losses, since the number of job losses was roughly equal to the number of people who left the work force.

From October 2009 to October 2010, total employment fell 1.27 percent, contracting by 31,577 jobs, while the labor force shrank 0.23 percent, shedding more than 6,100 workers. The total labor force in October included 2,664,848 workers during October of this year as compared to 2,671,036 during October of last year.

As can be seen in the first graph, both total employment and total workforce size have fallen off in recent months, and both remain well below the 2008 peak.

Employment totals are still more than 171,000 below the peak levels experienced during July 2008, when there were 2,621,081 employed workers. Since the peak of the labor market in July 2008, the labor force is still down by more than 91,700.

In the second graph is shown the year-over-year comparisons for total employment. Not since September 2008 has Colorado posted a positive change in total employment when compared to a year earlier. Although overall total employment has increased since January 2010, employment totals remain below 2009 totals in each year-over-year comparison.

Among Colorado metropolitan areas, Pueblo showed the highest unemployment rate at 9.6 percent, while the Boulder-Longmont and Fort Collins-Loveland areas showed the lowest rates as 6.2 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively.

All metropolitan areas in Colorado, except Boulder-Longmont and Fort-Collins-Loveland, experienced job declines year over year, from October 2009 to October 2010.

The third graph shows unemployment rates in all metro areas for October 2010 were Boulder-Longmont, 6.2 percent; Denver-Aurora, 8.2 percent; Greeley, 9.0 percent; Fort Collins-Loveland, 6.5 percent; Grand Junction, 9.1 percent; Pueblo, 9.6 percent.

Notice that Grand Junction shifted from having the lowest rate to having the highest rate in early 2009.

The national jobless rate, seasonally adjusted, was 9.6 percent for October, and the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.4 percent for the same period.

Industry information

Construction jobs in Colorado increased slightly in Colorado gaining almost 2,000 jobs during October, but compared year over year, construction jobs were down by 9,000 jobs, and they are down 57,000 jobs since the peak of the construction job market in July of 2007.

Leisure and hospitality jobs, which often drive the demand for rental housing in Colorado, continued to fall during October. As can be seen in the chart below, retail jobs and leisure and hospitality jobs are down from September, and are also down year over year. Total jobs in these industries remain well below jobs totals experienced during the 2008 peaks.