Friday, March 16, 2012

21 states have higher unemployment rates than Colorado

The Bureau of Labor Statistics last week released employment information on all states.

According to the BLS press release:

Regional and state unemployment rates were generally lower in January.
Forty-five states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rate
decreases, New York posted a rate increase, and four states had no change,
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Forty-eight states
and the District of Columbia registered unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, while New York experienced an increase and Illinois had no
change. The national jobless rate decreased to 8.3 percent from December
and was 0.8 percentage point lower than in January 2011.

Colorado was among the 22 states that reported statistically significant decreases in the unemployment rate. 21 states reported unemployment rates that were higher than Colorado's, including California, Nevada, Florida and Michigan.

Colorado's unemployment rate remains below that of the nation overall, continuing a trend that has been in place since 2005. Earlier comparisons of Colorado and national unemployment rates had shown Colorado above the national rate during early 2011, but data revised in early 2012 shows that Colorado has not edged above the national rate in almost seven years.

The graph shows a comparison between the two rates since 2006:

The unemployment rate in Colorado fell slightly from December to January, dropping from 7.9 percent to 7.8 percent, according to the seasonally-adjusted numbers. The national rate also fell to 8.3 percent.

The BLS map below shows state-by-state comparisons.

Within the Rocky Mountain region, Colorado has the third highest unemployment rate:
Arizona, 8.7%
Colorado, 7.8%
Idaho, 8.1%
Montana, 6.5%
New Mexico, 7.0%
Utah, 5.7%
Wyoming, 5.5%

With Colorado's unemployment rate below the national rate, Colorado may continue to be seen as a desirable location for job seekers. This may in turn impact overall household formation in Colorado and the demand for housing.

Colorado remains in the middle of the pack when it comes to statewide unemployment rates, but has seen its rate rise above more states in recent months. At the regional level, however, Colorado contains some metro areas that have unemployment rate well below the national rate, such as the Boulder area and the Fort Collins area.