Friday, March 7, 2014

Establishment Survey: Employment growth slows, but remains positive

Total non-farm employment in Colorado, according to the establishment survey, his  a new all-time high during December 2013. At 2.4 million payroll jobs, employment is now slightly above the old 2008 peak reached at the end of the last expansion. The fact that the establishment survey shows a new high contrasts with the household survey that shows that employment has not yet reached the old peak. This discrepancy can be explained by the methods used for the two surveys. The establishment survey indicates total jobs, while the household survey shows total employed persons. A single person who works  two jobs will show up as a single employed person in the household survey, but show up as two payroll jobs in the establishment survey.

The first graph shows total payroll employment for each month. We see that in December, the total was both the highest December total ever reached, and also that the total was above the old June 2008 peak. In general, the second half of 2013 showed numerous new peaks in employment.

The second graph shows year-over-year gains in payroll employment. We see that overall growth has been similar to what was seen during the expansion of 2003-2008. In terms of growth, it appears that late 2012 and early 2013 saw the peak in employment growth with around 60,000 jobs gained, year over year during that period. Since September 2013, growth has fallen below 50,000 jobs each month, and December's growth was at the lowest level since April 2012. In December 2013, there were 43,000 more payroll jobs in Colorado than in December 2012. Back in February 2013, more than 66,000 jobs were added, year over year.