Thursday, April 15, 2010

Colorado unemployment rises to 8.3 percent

Unemployment in Colorado in February rose to 8.3 percent, increasing from February 2009's rate of 7.6 percent. The unemployment rate during January 2010 was also 8.3 percent. According to new jobs data released last week by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Colorado has lost 203,000 jobs since the peak of the labor market in July 2008, and the state has shed 87,300 jobs since February of last year. More than 119,000 people have left the labor force since labor force size peaked during July 2008.

The unemployment rate fell from July to October of last year, but employment totals have consistently trended downward since July 2008. Fewer than 600 jobs were lost in the not-seasonally-adjusted data, demonstrating some stability in the job markets in the short term.

Colorado's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 7.7 percent.

Nationally, regional and state unemployment rates were little changed or slightly higher in February. Twenty-seven states recorded over-the-month unemployment rate increases, 7 states and the District of Columbia registered rate decreases, and 16 states had no rate change, according to the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics. Over the year, jobless rates increased in 46 states and the District of Columbia and declined in 4 states. The national unemployment rate in February, 9.7 percent, remained unchanged from January, but was up from 8.2 percent a year earlier.

In February, nonfarm payroll employment decreased in 27 states and the District of Columbia and increased in 23 states. The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in Virginia (-32,600), followed by California (-20,400), Michigan and Pennsylvania (-16,000 each), Maryland (-13,800), and Texas (-13,000). Alaska experienced the largest over-the-month percentage decrease in employment (-1.0 percent), followed by Virginia (-0.9 percent) and Arkansas, the District of Columbia, and Maryland (-0.6 percent each). The largest over-the-month increase in employment occurred in Florida (+26,300), followed by New York (+5,800), Alabama (+5,600), Wisconsin (+5,200), Nevada (+5,100), and South Carolina (+5,000). Nevada experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment (+0.5 percent), followed by Florida and New Hampshire (+0.4 percent each) and Alabama, South Carolina, and Vermont (+0.3 percent each). Over the year, nonfarm employment decreased in 49 states and increased in 1 state and the District of Columbia. The largest over-the-year percentage decreases occurred in Nevada (-5.2 percent), Wyoming (-4.4 percent), California (-4.1 percent), and Arizona (-4.0 percent).

Job losses mirrored declines in personal income reported in Colorado for the fourth quarter of 2008.