Friday, September 16, 2011

Colorado added 6,800 jobs in August, unemployment down

Colorado gained 6,841 jobs in August 2011 compared to August of last year, and the non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell year-over-year from 8.7 percent to 8.3 percent. According to the most recent employment data, released today by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, total employment in August, not seasonally adjusted, rose to 2.475 million jobs. There were 4,100 fewer people in the work force during August, compared to August 2010, which contributed to the decline in the unemployment rate.

From August 2010 to August 2011, total employment rose 0.27 percent, while the labor force shrank 0.15 percent. The total labor force in August included 2.699 million workers.

As can be seen in the second graph, total employment and total workforce size have increased month-over-month. Year over year, total employment rose while the labor force grew smaller. Both remain well below the July 2008 peak.

The employment total is 157,000 jobs below the peak levels experienced during July 2008 when there were 2.63 million employed workers. Compared to the labor force peak in July 2008, the labor force is now down by more than 68,000 workers.

In the third graph is shown the year-over-year comparisons, by percent, for total employment. August 2011 was the second month in a row showing a positive year-over-year change in total employment. This followed 33 months in a row of negative job growth in year-over-year comparisons. Between August 2008 and July 2011, no month posted a positive change in total employment when compared to the same month a year earlier.

The graph also shows the year-over-change in the labor force. Total labor force size fell from July 2011 to August 2011 and also from August 2010 to August 2011, which helps to explain the drop in the unemployment rate. The labor force size has shrunk for 26 months in a row when compared to same month a year earlier.

These numbers come from the Household Survey employment data, so the size of the workforce is dependent on the number of people stating that they are actively looking for work if not employed. Discouraged workers who have stopped looking for work are excluded.