Friday, May 20, 2011

Construction jobs in Colorado not rebounding, leisure jobs recovering

According to April's employment data, released today by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, overall employment in Colorado fell slightly in April, but by the smallest amount since 2008. Thanks to continued declines in the labor force, the unemployment rate also fell to a 17-month low of 8.3 percent.

At the Division of Housing, we keep an eye on industries that are often connected to affordable housing and real estate trends.

Today, we'll look at job creation in the following industries: construction, leisure and hospitality, and retail.

Construction is a key indicator since it is connected to housing production. The construction jobs examined below include non-residential construction.

In the first chart, it is clear that, as of April 2011, construction jobs continue to be well below the 2007 peak. Since construction jobs peaked during July 2007, construction jobs have fallen almost 39 percent, or 66,000 jobs, down to post-recession low of 103,900 jobs. From April 2010 to April 2011, construction jobs have fallen 11.1percent, or 13,100 jobs.

Unlike many industries, construction jobs did not drop to an initial low and then rebound. On the whole, construction jobs in Colorado have declined continuously since 2007.

Retail jobs, and jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry are key factors in the rural resort economies, and are also important statewide as sources of income for low-income households. In the chart below, we see that retail jobs have recovered somewhat.

Leisure and hospitality jobs, on the other hand, have recovered to a significant degree since early 2010 and are headed back toward peak levels.

In leisure and hospitality, total jobs are now down 2.5 percent, or about 900 jobs, from the June 2008 peak. From April 2010 to April 2011, total jobs increased 2.7 percent, or about 7,200 jobs.

Retail jobs have not recovered as much as those in leisure and hospitality. From April of last year to April 2011, total employment in retail is up about 1,100 jobs. Since the April 2008 peak, retail jobs are down 7 percent, or about 15,900 jobs.