Friday, February 7, 2014

Labor force and employment decline in Colorado Springs from Dec 2012 to Dec 2013

It's difficult to know at this time if it's just a temporary blip, but the labor force in Colorado Springs fell to a two-year low in December 2013, dropping by 5,300 workers from December 2012 to December 2013. The labor force can decline due to more workers retiring or due to discouraged workers leaving the workforce, two-income households electing to become single-income households, and other factors.

In current economic conditions, the overall effect of a declining workforce is probably one of declining overall household earnings.

The Colorado Department of Labor and employment's data has shown a declining unemployment rate in Colorado Springs over the past year, but recent declines in the labor force have helped to push down the unemployment rate. (It was down to 7.2 percent in December.) Overall employment has been generally stable of the past year, as we can see above. Certainly, total employment was higher in 2013 than 2012.

The next graph shows the labor force for each month of each year. This helps  us see past any seasonal issues. In this case, we see that the labor force was at a three-year low when compared to other Decembers. The labor force in December 2013 was smaller than both December 2012 and December 2011, but remains well up from December 2010.

Meanwhile, the final graph shows that total employment, according to the Household Survey, was down from December 2012 to December 2013, but that it remained above total employment levels for the Decembers of 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Overall December's Household Survey suggests some ongoing weakness in the Colorado Springs job market.