Colorado Employment Situation – March 2021

 

Household survey data:

According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was flat in March, matching the revised February rate of 6.4 percent. During the same period, the national unemployment rate declined two-tenths of a percentage point to 6.0 percent.

Other highlights from the household survey:

  • Colorado’s labor force grew by 5,800 in March to 3,188,500. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force in March remained steady at 68.5 percent and slightly lower than the pre-pandemic rate of 68.7 percent.
  • The number of individuals employed in Colorado increased by 5,100 in March to 2,983,200, which represents 64.1 percent of the state’s 16+ population. While Colorado’s employment-to-population ratio continues to improve since April 2020, when it was 57.0 percent, it is still well below the pre-pandemic level of 66.8 percent.
  • The Colorado counties with the highest unemployment rates in March were: Huerfano (9.8%), Las Animas (8.9%), Pueblo (8.7%), Fremont (8.4%), and Rio Grande (7.7%). County-level unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted and are directly comparable to Colorado’s March unadjusted rate of 6.5 percent.

Establishment survey data:

Employers in Colorado added 6,600 nonfarm payroll jobs from February to March for a total of 2,672,800 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 5,800 and government added 800 jobs. Since May, Colorado has gained back 229,600 of the 375,800 nonfarm payroll jobs lost between February and April of last year. That translates to a job recovery rate of 61.1 percent, which slightly lags the U.S. rate of 62.4 percent.

Other highlights from the establishment survey:

  • February estimates were revised up to 2,666,200, and the over the month change from January to February was a gain of 9,100 rather than the originally estimated increase of 5,200 (monthly revisions are based on additional responses from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates).
  • Private industry sectors with significant job gains in March were: professional and business services (~3,300), trade, transportation, and utilities (~1,300), education and health services (~1,100), and other services (~1,000). Significant over the month private sector job loss occurred in leisure and hospitality (~1,100).
  • Since March 2020, nonfarm payroll jobs have decreased 133,900, with losses totaling 107,800 in the private sector and 26,100 in government. The largest private sector job losses were in leisure and hospitality (~61,900), education and health services (~10,300), and professional and business services (~7,900). During that same period, trade, transportation, and utilities added jobs (~4,900). Colorado’s rate of job loss over the past year is -4.8 percent, compared to the U.S. rate of -4.5 percent.
  • Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 33.4 to 33.0 hours, while average hourly earnings rose from $31.01 to $31.30, approximately a dollar and thirty cents more than the national average hourly earnings of $29.96.

These are the unemployment percentages for southeastern Colorado counties for March 2021:

Labor Force Unemployed Mar 2021 Feb 2021 March 2020 Unemployed
Baca 2,179 75 3.4 3.0 3.7

71

Bent

1,874 128 6.8 6.3 5.1 86
Cheyenne 1,108 46 4.2 3.2 3.0

30

Crowley

1,536 90 5.9 6.1 7.5 112
Kiowa 958 35 3.7 4.4 2.7

23

Kit Carson

4,191 149 3.6 3.5 3.3 130
Las Animas 6,589 589 8.9 8.0 7.1

440

Otero

8,297 609 7.3 7.5 7.0 546
Prowers 6,185 362 5.7 5.4 4.4

259

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