Colorado jobs and unemployment: Our monthly snapshot

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment is out with its latest monthly jobs report for the state, covering August.

Here are the key takeaways  for the state’s workers. (Figures for previous months are adjusted periodically.)

    • Payroll jobs (non-farm): Up 9,000 from the previous month, to 2,799,600, and up 64,900 from a year earlier.

    • Private sector payroll jobs (non-farm): Up 5,300 from the previous month, and up 54,900 from a year earlier.

    • Government jobs:  Up 3,700 from the previous month, and up 10,000 from a year earlier.

    • Average workweek (non-farm payroll jobs): 33.5 hours, down from 33.8 hours a year ago.

    • Average hourly wage (non-farm payroll jobs): $30.11, up from $28.90 a year ago.

    • Unemployment rate: 2.8%, down from 2.9% the previous month, and down from 3.4% a year earlier.

    • Unemployed people: Down 2,200 from the previous month, to 96,900.

    • Labor force participants: Up 6,200 from the previous month, to 3,155,500.

    • Employed people (including self employed and farm workers): Up 8,400 from the previous month, to 3,067,200.

    • Colorado's largest month-to-month private sector job gains were in educational and health services, financial activities, and trade, transportation, and utilities. The biggest private sector monthly declines were in information.

    • Colorado's largest private sector job gains from a year ago were in professional and business services, educational and health services, and leisure and hospitality. The largest year-over-year decline was in information.

    • National unemployment rate: 3.7%, unchanged from the previous month and down from 3.8% percent a year earlier.

Explainer: These numbers come from two different government job surveys that don’t always agree: A survey of employers (payroll jobs only) that doesn’t include self-employed people and farm workers, and a survey of households (payroll and non-payroll employment, unemployment, labor force participation) that does include those categories. In the latter survey, people with multiple jobs are counted only once.

“Unemployment” (as the government defines it) means people who don’t have a job and have applied for one in the last four weeks. Unemployment figures do NOT include out-of-work people who haven’t sought a job recently, or “discouraged” workers who say they want a job but haven’t applied because they don’t think one is available for them, or people working part-time who say they wnat to work full time but can't find a full-time job, or people who aren’t seeking a job because they’re retired, or sick or disabled, or in school, or at home caring for their family, or unpaid volunteer workers.

“Labor force participation” means employed people plus unemployed people actively looking for a job. (Sometimes the unemployment rate rises even if employment goes up because more people are entering the labor force who previously weren’t looking for work.) The labor force does NOT include people without a job who are not actively looking for work.

“Payroll jobs” means working for an employer except for farm workers. It does not include the self employed or certain home domestic workers.

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