Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Colorado total employment reaches new post-recession high in July, remains below 2008 peak

Year-over-year gains in total employment in Colorado rose to an 19-month high during July 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 57,000 jobs, comparing July 2012 to july 2013.

57,000 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:


Year-over-year employment gains are still well below what they were during the last expansion of 2003-2008, although growth has been accelerating in recent months.

Comparing july 2012 to July 2013, 28,000 new workers entered the labor force, continuing a trend of generally strong gains in labor force size since February of this this year.  The year-over-year gain during July was down a little from June's 17-month high of 30,000 new workers added.

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



As with total employment, we see that labor force growth remains well below that of the last expansion.

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 July rate, not seasonally adjusted, falling to 6.9 percent during July. This is down from 8.3 percent recorded during July of last year.

According to the Household survey, there are approximately 2.78 million workers in the workforce, with 2.59 million of them employed. There were 193,000 unemployed persons in the state during July 2013. total employment during July was 39,000 jobs below the employment peak achieved during July of 2008. The final graph shows total employment and labor force size in recent years. Note that while the labor force has exceeded totals reached during the peak of the last boom, total employment still remains below those 2008 peak levels: