Employment numbers bring good news for Colorado


In a June 15 press release, the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment (CDLE) reports that the state’s unemployment rate in May remained at 2.8%, where it has been for the past year, other than three months when it varied to 2.7% or 2.9%. 

CDLE noted that, in contrast, “The national unemployment rate increased three-tenths of a percentage point to 3.7% between April and May (2023).”

The graph from CSI depicts the changes in employment sectors since January 2020.

Labor force participation in Colorado’s rose to 68.7% in May, slightly ahead of April’s rate of 68.6%, while the nationwide quotient held steady at 62.6%, 6.1% beneath that of Colorado, CDLE tells us. 

The actual number of Coloradans employed in May was 3,154,500, which approximates the number from January 2020, just before the pandemic.

Colorado Jobs and Labor Force Update, a June 16 report from the Common Sense Institute (CSI), a local nonprofit nonpartisan research group focused on the state’s economy, authored by CSI Research Analysts Cole Anderson and Erik Gamm, says that, as of May 2023, “Colorado’s leisure and hospitality sector has added the most jobs of any private sector industry, adding 8,600 jobs cumulatively in April and May, and, “With 91,700 jobs added in the 26 months from January 2021 to May 2023, that sector is up 3%, or 10,500 jobs above its January 2020 pre-pandemic level.

This graphic from the state Department of Labor & Employment shows good news for Colorado.

Overall, CSI tells us, our state’s, “Total employment level is up 2.41% (78,600 jobs) above the pre-pandemic level,” although even those numbers result in Colorado ranking 20th among all states in terms of May 2023 job levels relative to January 2020. That is good news for our state and even better news for our country.

On a less positive note, Anderson and Gamm tell us that, “Since January 2020, employment in the mining and logging sector has decreased by 18.7%, reducing its share of state employment by 20.9%, though this is likely the result of a combination of global trends and state policy.” 

They also share that, as of the end of both April and May, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Bureau of Labor Statistics household survey reports that, overall, “Colorado has recovered to its pre-pandemic employment level.” 

Finally, it will surprise no one to hear that, “As a share of Colorado’s total employment, the professional and business services sector has grown by almost 7.3% since the start of 2020,” according to the CSI report. In a presentation to CSI’s Eggs and the Economy Group on June 16, CSI Senior Economist Steve Byers, Ph.D, said that the professional and business services sector, “saw the most job growth (+45,700 jobs) and is equal to 58.14% of Colorado’s total job growth.”