Thursday, June 27, 2013

May employment gains rise to 18-month high in Colorado

Year-over-year gains in total employment in Colorado rose to an 18-month high during May 2013, according to new data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. According to Household Survey data, the 3-month rolling average for new year-over-year jobs gains was 53,000 jobs, comparing May 2012 to May 2013.

53,000 was the largest year over year gain since January 2012 when more than 60,000 new jobs were added compared to the same month of the previous year.

The first graph shows year-over-year comparisons in total employment:

However, during the same period, new workers entered the labor force at an accelerating rate. New workers entering the workforce hit a ten-month high in May, with 23,000 new workers  (a 3-month rollings average). This was the largest number of new workers joining the workforce since August of last year when 25,000 new workers joined the workforce.

The second graph shows year-over-year gains in workforce size:

The unemployment rate reflects the relationship between new jobs added and new workers in the workforce. In order for the unemployment rate to decline, jobs must be added faster to the economy than there are new workers entering the workforce. The last graph shows the unemployment rate. While new jobs have been added in recent months, new workers have joined the workforce as well, and this has tempered declines in the unemployment rate.
Nevertheless, the unemployment rate has been slowly declining since 2010 in Colorado, with the May rate, not seasonally adjusted, falling to 6.8 percent during May. This is down from 7.9 percent recorded during May of last year.