Tuesday, October 30, 2012

BLS: Unemployment rates in southern and western Colorado metros still above national rate

The BLS released its report today on September 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, Greeley, Grand Junction, Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction have unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) above the national rate of 7.6 percent (not seasonally adjusted). During September 2012, Denver Boulder, metro Denver and the Ft. Collins-Loveland area had unemployment rates 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), at 7.4 percent is slightly below the national rate, and has generally 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 dropped below the national rate in recent months.

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, a disparity has grown between two parts of the state. The unemployment rates in Larimer County and in Metro Denver and Boulder have remained relatively low, while rates have been considerably higher in southern and western Colorado. See the housing snapshot archives for details.

According to today's BLS report:

Unemployment rates were lower in September than a year earlier in 345 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 22 areas, and unchanged in 5 areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Two areas recorded jobless rates of at least 15.0 percent, while 41 areas registered rates of less than 5.0 percent. Two hundred sixty-seven metropolitan areas reported over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment, 94 reported decreases, and 11 had no change. The national unemployment rate in September was 7.6 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down from 8.8 percent a year earlier.