Colorado Employment Situation – August 2023


5,600 Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Added in August; Unemployment Rate Rises to 3.1 Percent


Household survey data:
According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased two-tenths of a percentage point in August to 3.1 percent compared to the July rate of 2.9 percent. The number of unemployed individuals grew by 4,700 over the same time period to 99,800. The national unemployment rate increased three-tenths of a percentage point to 3.8 percent from July to August.

Colorado’s labor force increased by 2,500 in August to 3,255,000. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force remained at 68.7 percent in August, identical to the three months prior. The U.S. labor force participation rate was 62.8 percent in August, increasing two-tenths of a percentage point from the month prior.

The number of individuals employed in Colorado declined by 2,200 in August to 3,155,200, which represents 66.6 percent of the state’s 16+ population. Colorado’s employment-population ratio of 66.6 in August was one-tenth of percentage point lower compared to the July rate of 66.7 percent. The national employment-population ratio was flat in August at 60.4 percent.

Since August 2022, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 42,700, with the private sector growing by 26,000 and government adding 16,700 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (≈24,000), professional and business services (≈7,200), and educational and health services (≈6,400). During that same period financial activities (≈7,300), trade, transportation, and utilities (≈5,500), construction (≈2,500), and information (≈1,500) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 1.5 percent, lagging the U.S. rate of 2.0 percent.

Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.3 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $34.11 to $35.90, two dollars and eight cents more than the national average hourly earnings of $33.82.

Here are the unemployment percentages for several southeast Colorado counties:


Labor Force

August 2023 Unemployed July 2023 August 2022



2,169 2.0 44 2.3 1.6 35
Bent 1,952 3.0 59 3.4 3.2



977 2.1 21 2.4 1.5 14
Las Animas 5,999 5.7 343 5.8 4.6



8,105 4.5 361 4.8 3.8 301
Prowers 6,516 3.1 203 3.2 2.5


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