Colorado Employment Situation – February 2024

8,500 Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Added in February; Unemployment Rate Rises to 3.5 Percent

Household survey data

According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point in February to 3.5 percent compared to the January rate of 3.4 percent. The number of unemployed individuals grew by 4,200 over the same time period to 114,400. The national unemployment rate increased two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.9 percent from January to February.

Colorado’s labor force decreased by 1,800 in February to 3,235,500. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force remained at 68.1 percent in February, identical to the month prior. The U.S. labor force participation rate was 62.5 percent in February, identical to the two months prior.

The number of individuals employed in Colorado declined by 6,000 in February to 3,121,000, which represents 65.6 percent of the state’s 16+ population. Colorado’s employment-population ratio of 65.6 in February was two-tenths of a percentage point lower compared to the January rate of 65.8 percent. The national employment population ratio decreased one-tenth of a percentage point in February to 60.1 percent.

Establishment survey data:

Employers in Colorado added 8,500 nonfarm payroll jobs from January to February for a total of 2,975,800 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs grew by 6,500, while government added 2,000 jobs.

January estimates were revised down to 2,967,300, and the over the month change from December to January was a gain of 5,900 rather than the originally estimated increase of 8,000 (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 February were: educational and health services (≈3,400), construction (≈1,200), and professional and business services (≈1,100). There were no significant over the month declines.

Since February 2023, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 60,300, with the private sector growing by 33,500 and government adding 26,800 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in educational and health services (≈18,900), professional and business services (≈10,100), and leisure and hospitality (≈8,300). During that same period, payroll jobs declined in trade, transportation, and utilities (≈4,400), information (≈1,900), and manufacturing (≈1,600). Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 2.1 percent, outpacing the U.S. rate of 1.8 percent.

Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.0 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $35.27 to $37.19, two dollars and sixty-two cents more than the national average hourly earnings of $34.57.


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