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Colorado sees slight increase in unemployment, drop in size of workforce

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Joe Mueller

(The Center Square) – A slight increase in the unemployment rate and a decrease in Colorado’s workforce highlighted the September jobs report from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.2 percent in September. It marked the highest rate in 12 months as the rate was 2.8 percent in September 2022. The national unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in September, the same as August.

Colorado’s labor force decreased by one-tenth of a percentage point to 68.6 percent in September compared to August. The labor force participation rate was 62.8 percent in September, unchanged from the previous month.

Colorado’s job growth rate of 1.4 percent during the past year is lower than the U.S. rate of 2.1 percent.

Thanks to an increase in the number of new government jobs, Colorado’s economy added 1,500 non-farm payroll jobs last month. Governments employed 2,100 additional people in September while private sector payrolls declined by 600. Approximately 2.9 million Coloradans were employed in September.

During the last 12 months, Colorado’s non-farm payroll jobs increased by 40,000. The private sector added 21,000 positions and governments added 19,000 jobs. Leisure and hospitality led job growth in the private sector with 22,300 positions. Professional and business services added 9,000 jobs and educational and health services added 5,900 positions. Sectors with the largest declines included financial activities (8,100), trade, transportation and utilities (4,800), construction (4,200) and information (1,800).

Average hourly earnings for Coloradans increased from $34.44 in September 2022 to $35.75 last month. Colorado’s average hourly pay is $1.87 higher than the national rate of $33.88. The average workweek for those working in private, non-farm positions declined from 33.5 hours per week to 33.4.

Pueblo had the highest unemployment rate at 4.7 percent in September while the Longmont portion of Weld County had the lowest rate at 2.4 percent.