Colorado’s Unemployment Rate Dips To Lowest Level in Eight Years

November 20, 2015

The state's unemployment rate fell from 4 percent to 3.8 percent in October, the lowest level since August 2007.

"We’re getting pretty close to the low of 3.5 we saw before the last recession," said the state's chief economist, Alexandra Hall.

Employers added 13,000 nonfarm payroll jobs from September to October, mostly in the private sector.

The biggest job gains were in professional and business services, as well as construction and financial activities. The largest losses were registered in information, education and health services.

Was job growth was pretty solid statewide?

Hall: While we are facing a decline in the oil and gas sector and a slowing growth relative to about a year ago of employment in construction, we’re still in a position where  a number of other sectors are doing well enough that we’re seeing a good, modest job growth continuing.

Is the oil and gas industry in Colorado really shrinking?

Hall: Oil and gas is actually getting to a position where jobs are declining there over the year. We knew jobs were being lost for a while. What we were seeing is job growth at a slower pace because, while some jobs were lost, some jobs were still being added. Now we’re seeing an actual decline in oil and gas jobs.

How do particular areas of the state come out in these latest numbers - Grand Junction, Pueblo, Colorado Springs? We’ve heard those areas weren’t necessarily matching the numbers statewide or the Denver area.

Hall: Colorado Springs has been in the position where their growth has been underestimated quarter after quarter after quarter. Pueblo not a whole lot of change there. Grand Junction we think  payroll jobs are slowing a little more there. So These changes in the economy are definitely affecting different areas differently.   I think the area that has the greatest concern with the slowdown of oil and gas is Greeley and to some degree Fort Collins so the north central area where that activity has been a big portion of the economy in the last several years.

Meanwhile, around the Denver area things are just humming along?

Hall: Denver continues to grow. Again, there are some areas  impacted more than other areas but we have some areas in Colorado, specifically Denver, that are just doing very well.

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