Colorado lost 6,300 jobs in March compared to March of last year, but the non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell to 9.2 from March 2010's rate of 9.7 percent. According to the most recent employment data released by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, total employment in March, not seasonally adjusted, fell to 2.42 million jobs. There were 19,000 fewer people in the work force during March, compared to March 2010, which contributed to the decline in the unemployment rate.
From March 2010 to March 2011, total employment fell 0.2 percennt, while the labor force shrank 0.7 percent. The total labor force in March included 2.67 million workers.
As can be seen in the second graph, total employment and total workforce size have increased month-over-month, but both remain down in year-over-year comparisons, and both remain well below the July 2008 peak.
Employment totals are still more than 207,000 jobs below the peak levels experienced during July 2008 when there were 2.63 million employed workers. Since the labor force peaked in July 2008, it has fallen by more than 95,000 workers.
In the third graph is shown the year-over-year comparisons, by percent, for total employment. Not since August 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. The annual declines, however, have grown smaller in recent months. March's year-over-year drop of 0.2 percent was the smallest annual drop since September 2008 when total employment fell 0.3 percent from the previous September.
This is the third month in a row in which Colorado's unemployment rate has exceeded the national rate (discussed here.)