Friday, May 18, 2012

Colorado employment gains weaken in April

Colorado gained 1,642 jobs in April 2012 compared to April of 2011, and the non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell year-over-year from 8.1 percent to 8.0 percent. According to the most recent employment data, collected through the Household Survey and released today by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and the BLS, total employment in April, not seasonally adjusted, rose to 2.48 million jobs. The labor force also increased from April 2011 to April 2012.

In month-to-month comparisons, the unemployment rate fell from 8.2 percent during March 2012 to 8.0 percent during April. 11,528 jobs were lost month-over-month while 20,200 people left the work force over the same period.

From April 2011 to April 2012, total employment was nearly flat and rose 0.06 percent while the labor force fell 0.06 percent. The total labor force in April included 2.70 million workers.

As can be seen in the second graph, total employment and total workforce size have fallen, month-over-month,  after rising for the previous two months. Year over year, employment rose and the labor force fell, driving down the unemployment rate. However, both remain well below July 2008 peaks.

The employment total is now 147,000 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 67,000 workers.

In the third graph is shown the year-over-year comparisons, by percent, for total employment. April 2012 was the 16th month in a row showing a positive year-over-year change in total employment, although April showed the smallest increase in employment of any month during that period, by far. The 15 months of increases followed 28 months in a row of negative job growth in year-over-year comparisons.

The graph also shows the year-over-change in the labor force. Total labor force size fell slightly from April 2011 to April 2012 and follows 15 months of year over year increases in the labor force. The labor force size had shrunk, year over year, for 18 months in a row from July 2009 to December 2010.

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. On the other hand, the Household Survey picks up on small business and start-up employment that may be missed by the Establishment Survey, the other commonly-used measure of employment.

Note: This analysis reflects newly revised data released in January. In most cases, total employment was revised upward for the months of 2011.