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Colorado added 9,800 jobs in November; unemployment dipped to 5.1%

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Robert Davis | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) – Colorado’s unemployment rate dipped to 5.1 percent in November, marking the fifth consecutive month of decline, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). 

Overall, Colorado added more than 9,800 nonfarm payroll jobs last month, which is a slight decline from the revised 9,900 total recorded in October. Private sector employment accounted for 95 percent of the job growth last month. 

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Over the last 12 months, Colorado’s nonfarm payroll job total has increased by 117,500, with the private sector adding more than 104,000. 

Colorado has gained back over 322,000 of the more than 375,000 jobs it lost between February and April of last year, CDLE data shows. This translates to a job recovery rate of 85.7 percent, which exceeds the national average of 82.5 percent. 

“Colorado is hiring,” Governor Jared Polis said in a statement about the employment figures.

“Every day more Coloradans are joining innovative companies, starting new careers, or growing small businesses,” Polis said. “As we head into 2022, I will work hard to save Colorado families and individuals money on fees and other costs.”

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According to the data, industries like business services, education, health care, and financial activities led the way last month and accounted for 78 percent of the total job growth. 

Business services added approximately 3,900 jobs, while education, health care, and financial activities added another 3,800 combined. 

However, the state’s workforce participation rate remained “exceptionally low,” according to an analysis of CDLE’s figures by the Common Sense Institute, a free enterprise think tank. 

November’s participation rate remained at 68.2 percent for the third consecutive month, which is still 0.6 percent below the participation rate from January 2020. 

Colorado’s 5.4 percent unemployment rate is still double what it was before the pandemic began, and it's also 1.2 percent above the national unemployment rate.