Colorado labor market softening as year comes to a close

BEAVER CREEK, COLORADO – DECEMBER 01: The start time of the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men’s Downhill is delayed due to snow on the course at Beaver Creek Resort on December 01, 2023 in Beaver Creek, Colorado. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Colorado employers shed 700 jobs last month, a decline that would have been much worse without some decent government hiring, according to a monthly update from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Private sector employers cut their payrolls by 2,100 positions last month on a seasonally adjusted basis, while government employers added 1,400 jobs. October’s numbers were also revised lower, taking the original estimate of 1,500 jobs down to no jobs.

“I am not surprised by the decrease in employment during November, nor am I surprised by the downward revision of 1,500 jobs in October. The economy has been growing at a slower rate. More importantly, for Colorado, the private sector has been stagnant for the second half of the year,” said Broomfield economist Gary Horvath in an email.

November’s monthly losses were heaviest in manufacturing, down by 1,600 positions, and in trade, transportation and utilities, down by 1,500 jobs. Other services, a catchall category, reported a gain of 900, while leisure and hospitality was up by 700.

“The growth that occurred in November was not broad-based,” Horvath said, adding that it does look like hiring, like the snow, has picked up in the high country.

Over the past year, the state has added 31,100 jobs, with the private sector adding 11,700 jobs and governments adding 19,400. Leisure and hospitality, up by 16,800 jobs; professional and business services, up 9,200 and educational and health services up by 6,300 are reporting the largest gains in the private sector.

The biggest losses have come in trade, transportation and utilities, down by 8,600 jobs; financial activities, down by 8,300; and construction, off by 4,400.

Colorado’s annual job growth rate over the past year is 1.1%, one of the slowest in the country, and behind the U.S. rate of 1.8%. Aside from 2020 during the pandemic, this November’s annual pace was the weakest for hiring going back to 2010.

The state’s unemployment rate, determined through a separate survey of households, was flat with October’s rate at 3.3%, despite the state adding another 1,900 unemployed workers over the month, which brought the total to 107,900.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.7% in November from 3.9% in October.



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