Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Industry employment trends in Colorado since 2007

New employment information for December will be available in early February. Before those numbers, come out, however, we can take a quick look at employment trends in various industries. These numbers are based on employment totals through November 2011.

Employment growth by industry is important because it can give us some idea of whether or not job growth is occurring in traditionally high-wage industries or low-wage industries.

In the first graph, one of the first things we notice is that jobs in the construction industry are down considerably over both the last three years and the last five years. Over the past five years, construction jobs in Colorado have declined by almost 36 percent, and they've dropped by more than 12 percent over the past three years. This change reflects a drop of about 60,000 jobs since 2007.

Mining and logging, on the other hand has shown a significant increase, but this industry is much smaller, and the 27 percent increase in jobs since 2009 reflects an increase of only 7,000 jobs. The construction industry now employs about 109,000 workers while mining and logging employs about 29,000 workers.

Two of the largest industries in the state, and two industries in which growth has been positive in recent years, are health care, and leisure and hospitality. Growth has been positive in both industries in both 3-year and 5-year time spans. Leisure and hospitality has added about 3,000 jobs since 2007 while health care has added about 26,000 jobs during the same period.

The second graph shows general trends in total employment in five industries since Janaury 2007. Construction and manufacturing are down while health care and leisure and hospitality are up. Retail trade has been largely flat.

The loss of so many jobs in construction, which has traditionally been an industry that provides relatively high wages to workers with limited educational levels, will likely have an overall negative impact on aggregate wages. At the same time, recent gains in leisure and retail jobs appear to be tapering off.

(These totals, from the Colorado Dept. of Labor and employment, are not seasonally adjusted.)