First-time unemployment claims fell 10 percent to 9896 in Colorado during 2012. There were 11,036 new claims during the same period last year. According to the December report released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,011 first-time unemployment claims during December 2012 alone, which was down 14.2 percent from the 1179 claims reported during December of last year. First-time unemployment claims have been down at year-end for the past three years, declining since 2009.
The first graph shows monthly first-time unemployment claims in Colorado, which has been slowly, declining overall since 2009:
The second graph shows year-end totals for mass layoff events and first-time unemployment claims for each year since 1996. Both mass layoffs and first-time claims peaked in 2009 when there were 188 mass layoff events and 16,424 claims. From 2011 to 2012, claims fell 10 percent and mass layoff events fell 8.7 percent.
Overall, the most recent mass layoffs data suggests that the employment situation continues to stabilize, but is still at elevated levels. New layoffs continue to lessen, but as we've seen in the most recent employment data for Colorado, job growth continues to disappoint and total employment totals remain below 2008's peak totals.
The last graph shows year over year changes in unemployment claims in both Colorado and the US. Claims declined in both areas, dropping 10 percent in Colorado and 8 percent nationwide from 2011 to 2012. 2012 was the third year in a row of declines in both cases.
Layoffs in Colorado, such as the recent Amtel layoffs in Colorado Springs, continue to affect statewide employment.
Initial claimant. A person who files any notice of unemployment to initiate a request either for a determination of entitlement to and eligibility for compensation, or for a subsequent period of unemployment within a benefit year or period of eligibility.
Mass layoff event. Fifty or more initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits filed against an employer during a 5-week period, regardless of duration.