Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Colorado leisure and hospitality jobs recover, construction falls again

According to November's employment data, released by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, overall employment in Colorado rose for the fifth month in a row in November. Thanks partially to continued declines in the labor force, the unemployment rate also fell to 7.8 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 also include non-residential construction.

In the first chart, we can see that as of November 2011, construction jobs remain near the July 2011 low of 103,400 construction jobs. Construction jobs in November remain near October 2011's eight-month high, but remain well below peak levels. Since construction jobs peaked during July 2007, construction jobs have fallen 36 percent, or 62,000 jobs. Although November's totals were up month to month, totals were down compared to November of last year by 6,200 jobs.

Unlike many industries, construction jobs did not drop to an initial low and then rebound. Overall, total construction employment has continued to drop 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 but have not returned to peak levels.

Leisure and hospitality jobs, on the other hand, have recovered to a significant degree since early 2010 and leisure jobs have now exceeded 2008's peak levels.

In leisure and hospitality, total jobs are now up 0.8 percent, or about 8,200 jobs, over the June 2008 peak. From November 2010 to November 2011, total jobs increased 3.7 percent, or about 10,000 jobs.

Retail jobs have not recovered as much as those in leisure and hospitality. From November of last year to November 2011, total employment in retail is up about 4,300 jobs. Since the April 2008 peak, retail jobs are down 7.6 percent, or about 17,500 jobs.

(Data is seasonally adjusted.)