Colorado employment rate on the rise

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Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 6,200 jobs from January to February in Colorado, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 5,400 and government increased 800, totaling 2,422,300 jobs for the state.

According to the survey of households, the unemployment rate in February remained unchanged at 6.1 percent.

The number of people participating in the labor force increased by 18,400 workers over the same time period and the number of people reporting themselves as employed increased 16,900. The larger increase in the labor force than in total employment caused the number of unemployed to increase 1,500. However, due to rounding, the unemployment rate was unchanged from January at 6.1 percent. The national unemployment rate increased 0.1 percentage point to 6.7 percent.

In 2013 the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased from 34.5 to 34.9 hours and average hourly earnings increased from $25.31 to $26.23.

The largest private sector job gains during the same time period were in professional and business services and leisure and hospitality. The largest monthly decline was in education and health services.

Last calendar year, nonfarm payroll jobs increased 65,300. Private sector payroll jobs increased 56,500 and government jobs increased 8,800. The largest private sector job gains were in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and education and health services. There were no 2013 declines.

Since February 2013, the unemployment rate declined one percentage point from 7.1 percent. The number of Coloradans participating in the labor force increased 15,500, total employment increased 41,600 and the number of unemployed decreased 26,100. The national unemployment rate declined from 7.7 percent in February 2013 to 6.7 percent in February 2014.

All Colorado estimates from the establishment and household surveys, including greater geographic detail, are available at www.colmigateway.com. Estimates for all states and the nation are available at www.bls.gov.

The March 2014 Colorado Employment Situation will be released on April 18. The full schedule of release dates for calendar year 2014 estimates is available at www.colmigateway.com.

Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates are based on a survey of business establishments and government agencies, and are intended to measure the number of jobs, not the number of people employed. Other series based on this survey include private sector average weekly hours, average hourly earnings and average weekly earnings.

The unemployment rate, labor force, labor force participation, total employment and the number of unemployed are based on a survey of households. The total employment estimate derived from this survey is intended to measure the number of people employed.

The business establishment survey covers about seven times the number of households surveyed and is therefore considered a more reliable indicator of economic conditions. Because the estimates are based on two separate surveys, one measuring jobs by worksite and the other measuring persons employed and unemployed by household, estimates based on these surveys may provide seemingly conflicting results.