Friday, May 20, 2011

Colorado loses 4,300 jobs in April, unemployment rate drops

Colorado lost 4,300 jobs in April compared to April of last year, but the non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell to a 17-month low of 8.3 percent from April 2010's rate of 8.8 percent. According to the most recent employment data released by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, total employment in April, not seasonally adjusted, fell to 2.44 million jobs. There were 20,000 fewer people in the work force during April, compared to April 2010, which contributed to the decline in the unemployment rate.

From April 2010 to April 2011, total employment fell 0.17 percennt, while the labor force shrank 0.7 percent. The total labor force in April 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 184,000 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 97,500 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 negative in each year-over-year comparison. The annual declines, however, have grown smaller in recent months. April's year-over-year drop of 0.17 percent was the smallest annual drop since September 2008 when total employment fell 0.3 percent from the previous September.

The graph also shows the year-over-change in total employment. Total labor force size has fallen more than employment in the last two months, which helps to explain the quick drop in the unemployment rate. Although the state has not actually added jobs in the YOY comparisons, the number of people actually looking for work has declined, pushing the unemployment rate down.

These numbers come from the household survey employment data, so the size of the workforce is dependent on the number of people stating that they are actively looking for work if not employed. Discouraged workers who have stopped looking for work are excluded.