Colorado’s private sector jobs made big gains in August

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Signs advertise job openings with United Parcel Service on Hwy. 2 in Commerce City as a UPS semi-trailer passes by in the background, Dec. 1, 2022.

Colorado added 9,100 jobs in the private sector last month, the biggest monthly gain in more than a year.

The leisure and hospitality segment saw the biggest increase, with 4,700 new jobs in August, according to the state’s labor department. The education and health services sector followed with 2,800 jobs.

But the government actually lost 3,500 jobs, according to the data. At least, that’s what the initial estimates for August show. The jobs data is often revised as additional responses come in. For instance, there were 2,600 more jobs reported for July than initially reported, according to state economist Ryan Gedney. 

Economists are watching employment figures for signs the job market is cooling as federal regulators raise interest rates to tame inflation. Jobs are still being added across the U.S., although the pace has slowed compared to last year.

The unemployment rate is holding near historic lows, but it’s been creeping up, both in Colorado and in the U.S. Colorado’s unemployment rate rose to 3.1 percent in August, from 2.9 percent the prior month, hitting 3 percent for the first time in 15 months, according to Gedney. He doesn’t think the small increase is cause for concern.

“That’s not really a statistically significant change,” Gedney said during a conference call with reporters. “I think it will stay within this range.”