Colorado Employment Situation – May 2023



Household survey data:

According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged from April to May at 2.8 percent. The number of unemployed individuals grew by 600 over the same time period to 90,000. Colorado’s unemployment rate has been below 3.0 percent for thirteen consecutive months and remains at pre-pandemic levels. The national unemployment rate increased three-tenths of a percentage point to 3.7 percent from April to May.

Colorado’s labor force increased by 9,400 in May to 3,244,400. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force rose to 68.7 percent in May, compared to 68.6 percent the month prior. The U.S. labor force participation rate was 62.6 percent in May and was unchanged from the month prior.

The number of individuals employed in Colorado grew by 8,800 in May to 3,154,500, which represents 66.8 percent of the state’s 16+ population. The last time Colorado’s employment-population ratio reached 66.8 percent was in January 2020. The national employment-population ratio decreased one-tenth of a percentage point in May from the month prior to 60.3 percent.

Establishment survey data:

Nonfarm payroll jobs in Colorado grew by 3,900 from April to May for a total of 2,900,500 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased by 2,800, while government added 1,100 jobs. Colorado’s government sector has now returned to pre-pandemic levels of employment (464,700 jobs in May 2023 compared to 462,100 jobs in February 2020).

Private industry sectors with significant job gains in May were: other services (≈3,900), leisure and hospitality (≈2,900), and manufacturing (≈1,300). Significant over the month private sector declines occurred in professional and business services (≈1,900), construction (≈1,800), and financial activities (≈1,200).

Since May 2022, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 30,200, with the private sector growing by 13,000 and government adding 17,200 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (≈21,200), professional and business services (≈7,000), and other services (≈2,700). During that same period financial activities (≈10,600), trade, transportation, and utilities (≈6,800), information (≈2,800), and construction (≈1,800) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 1.1 percent, lagging the U.S. rate of 2.7 percent.

Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 33.7 to 33.5 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $34.68 to $35.72, two dollars and twenty-eight cents more than the national average hourly earnings of $33.44.

These are the unemployment percentages for several counties in southeast Colorado:



Labor Force

May 2023 Unemployed April 2023 May 2022



2,094 1.8 37 1.4 1.6 33
Bent 1,821 2.4 43 2.5 3.3



902 1.8 16 1.6 1.6 14
Las Animas 6,098 4.7 285 3.9 4.0



7,949 3.7 296 3.3 3.7 291
Prowers 6,358 2.5 157 2.1 2.7


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