Thursday, May 31, 2012

Denver metro unemployment rate moves above nat'l average

The BLS released its report today on April unemployment in 372 metro areas in the US. The data for Colorado is not different from the statewide report already released by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The chart with local unemployment rates is here.

Nevertheless, the report does provide some comparisons with other metro areas in the nation. The map on the last page of the report shows that among the metro areas in Colorado, Denver metro, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and Greeley have unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) above the national rate of 7.7 percent (not seasonally adjusted). During April 2012, Denver Boulder and the Ft. Collins-Loveland area had unemployment rates below the national rate, but Denver metro, has moved above the national unemployment again after several months below the national rate.

The map shows how most metro areas are now above the national unemployment rate.

The map:

Statewide, Colorado's unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) remains below the national rate, and has been below the national rate since 2005.

The Boulder and Fort Collins areas have posted better unemployment rates than the nation for quite some time. Denver has in the past several months dropped below the national rate.

National comparisons remain important insofar as perceptions of the local job market drive household creation in Colorado. As long as Colorado is perceived as being a better job market than many metro areas in the nation, such a perceptions will foster household creation and population growth in the state. In recent months, however, the gap between the Colorado and the national unemployment rate has narrowed with unemployment declining faster at the national level than in Colorado.

According to today's BLS report:

Unemployment rates were lower in April than a year earlier in 342 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 25 areas, and unchanged in 5 areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Ten areas recorded jobless rates of at least 15.0 percent, while 32 areas registered rates of less than 5.0 percent. Two hundred forty-six metropolitan areas reported over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment, 115 reported decreases, and 11 had no change. The national unemployment rate in April was 7.7 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down from 8.7 percent a year earlier.