Colorado Unemployment Ticks Up in November, Still 5th Lowest In US

Unemployment remains low in Colorado, under 3 percent for all of 2017 so far. Employers added 1,800 jobs from October to November, but more people entered the labor force than jobs were created, so the state’s unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percent, settling at 2.9 percent for November.

The state hit a record low of 2.3 percent in April, May, and June. Even at 2.9 percent now, the state remains essentially at what economists call full employment, stretching back to November 2016 when the rate hit 3.0 percent. The state boasts the 5th lowest unemployment rate in the country. Every metro area in the state has added a significant amount of workers in recent years except Grand Junction which is still suffering a downturn in natural gas drilling.

According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, for the year so far, nonfarm jobs increased by 45,300 — with the majority coming in the private sector. December’s numbers are expected in late January of 2018.

There is a downside to low unemployment. Economists at University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of business expect a 2018 job growth of just 1.8 percent, 47,100 more new jobs. They say there could be even more, if there were more qualified workers to fill those positions.

Wage growth, stagnant through the recession, has been strong in the last five months, starting in July, average hourly earnings grew 4 percent year over year, and 3 percent every month since then.