Thursday, July 25, 2013

Colorado labor force grows to 17-month high, pushes up unemployment rate

Year-over-year increases in the labor force size in Colorado hit a 17-month high during June, according to new data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. According to Household Survey data, the labor force rose by 30,000 in Colorado in June, compared to June of 2012. This was the largest year-over-year increase since December of 2011 when the year-over-year increase was 63,000. The first graph shows the YOY increase for each month:

Gains in labor force remains quite small to what was common during the last expansion of 2003-2007.

These gains in the labor force size put upward pressure on the unemployment rate, since the unemployment rate is based on the gap between total employment and total labor force size.

As the labor force size grew, in recent months, the unemployment rate also headed upward in June:

The unemployment rate (not seaasonally adjusted) rose to 7.5 percent in June, higher than the rates seen during March,  April and May of this year. However, the rate was down from June 2012's unemployment rate of 8.4 percent.

Nevertheless, total employment growth in Colorado rose to a 19-month high during June 2013. The 3-month rolling average for new year-over-year jobs gains was 56,000 jobs, comparing June 2012 to June 2013.

56,000 was the largest year over year gain since January 2012 when more than 68,000 new jobs were added compared to the same month of the previous year.

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