Friday, April 16, 2010

Jobless rate climbs to 8.4 percent

The unemployment rate (not-seasonally-adjusted) in Colorado rose to 8.4 percent during March, but total employment grew for the first time since July 2009. In data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, 5,600 new jobs were added to the Colorado economy. However, over the same period, the total labor force grew by more than 8,300. With labor force growth outpacing job growth, the jobless rate increased.

The unemployment rate grew year over year, increasing from a rate of 7.9 percent in March 2009 to 8.4 percent last month. The rate also increased from February 2010's unemployment rate of 8.3 percent.

Since March 2009, Colorado has lost more than 64,000 jobs, and the state has lost more than 197,000 jobs since the peak of the market during July 2008.

Unemployment rates varied by metropolitan area in Colorado. The metropolitan areas with the highest rates were Grand Junction and Greeley with rates of 10.3 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively. The Boulder-Longmont area and the Fort Collins-Loveland areas reported the lowest metropolitan unemployment rates at 6.4 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively. The Denver-Aurora area's unemployment rate in March was 8.5 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Colorado during March was 7.9 percent.

Nationally, regional and state (seasonally-adjusted) unemployment rates were little changed in March. Twenty-four states recorded over the-month unemployment rate increases, 17 states and the District of Columbia registered rate decreases, and 9 states had no rate change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia recorded jobless rate increases from a year earlier, 5 states had decreases, and 1 state had no change. For the third consecutive month, the national unemployment rate was 9.7 percent, up from 8.6 percent in March 2009. In March, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 33 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 17 states.

Four states—Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, and Virginia—reported statistically significant over-the month unemployment rate increases in March (+0.2 percentage point each). Massachusetts was the only state to record a significant over-the-month jobless rate decrease (-0.2 percentage point). The District of Columbia also posted an appreciable rate decrease from a month earlier (-0.3 percentage point). The remaining 45 states registered jobless rates that were not measurably different from those of a month earlier, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes.

The West reported the highest regional jobless rate in March, 11.0 percent, while the Northeast recorded the lowest rate, 9.1 percent. The rate in the West set a new series high. (All region, division, and state series begin in 1976.) No region experienced a statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate change. All four regions registered significant rate increases from a year earlier: the West (+1.5 percentage points), South (+1.4 points), Northeast (+1.3 points), and Midwest (+1.0 point).