Monday, November 26, 2012

Job growth continues in Colorado at slow pace

The non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell year-over-year from 7.7 percent to 7.5 percent during October 2012. According to the most recent employment data, collected through the Household Survey and released last week by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and the BLS, the labor force grew only slightly over the year, rising by 3,100 workers from October 2011 to October 2012. This small increase in the labor force has helped to bring down the unemployment rate since the labor force grew more slowly than total employment.  During October 2012, the labor force consisted of 2.74 million workers, which means unemployment for the month totaled approximately 206,000 persons.

Total employment in Colorado rose to 2.54 million employed persons during October, rising 9,100 above last year's October total.  According to the Household Survey employment totals, total employment remains approximately 91,000 employed persons below peak levels.

The first graph shows the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted):

The second graph shows total employment is up from levels seen during 2009 and 2010, and is down only slightly from September's employment total, which was the highest total reported since 2008. Total labor force is now back up near peak levels.

Total employment, according to the Household Survey, is now at levels reported during early 2007.

The third graph shows payroll employment collected through the Establishment Survey of employment, and shows the year-over-year change in payroll employment in Colorado. Year-over-year growth has usually been under 2 percent since the last recession, and this is generally a smaller growth rate than what was common during the last expansion from 2003-2008.

According to the payroll survey, employment grew by 1.8 percent from October 2011 to October 2012.

The very large losses that occurred during 2009 and 2010 were the largest losses, by percentage, in at least 30 years. Job gains in recent years don't compare with the robust job gains seen during the boom years of the 1990s.

This report shows that job growth continues to be positive in Colorado, but that growth is not sufficient to really overcome deficits in total employment that have formed since 2008.

This jobs report shows no departure from jobs data that we've consistently seen over the past six months. Growth is positive, but not robust.