Colorado’s unemployment rate lowest since 2008

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unemployment-3The Colorado unemployment rate decreased 0.2 of a percent in May to 5.8 percent. The last time the unemployment rate was 5.8 percent or lower was November 2008 when the rate was 5.7 percent.

The last time the Colorado unemployment rate was at 5.8 percent was in 2008, according to the Colorado Department of Government, Policy and Public Relations.

Nonfarm payroll jobs increased 9,100 over the month from April to May to 2,443,800 jobs, according to a survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 8,700 and government increased 400. Colorado has had 31 consecutive months of payroll job gains.

The number of people participating in the labor force increased 3,100 over the month and the number of people reporting themselves as employed increased 7,500.

The larger increase in total employment than in the labor force caused the number of unemployed to decrease 4,300 and the unemployment rate to decline to 5.8 percent. The national unemployment rate was unchanged in May at 6.3 percent.

Over the year, the average work week for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 34.6 to 34.1 hours and average hourly earnings increased from $25.47 to $26.28.

The largest over the month private sector job gains were in construction, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality. There were no significant over the month declines.

Over the year, nonfarm payroll jobs increased 70,500. Private sector payroll jobs increased 65,000 and government increased 5,500. The largest private sector job gains were in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and education and health services. Information was the only sector to decline over the year.

Over the year, the unemployment rate declined one and one tenth of a percentage point from 6.9 percent in May 2013. The number of Coloradans participating in the labor force increased 46,900, total employment increased 73,900 and the number of unemployed decreased 27,000. The national unemployment rate declined from 7.5 percent in May 2013 to 6.3 percent in May 2014.

All Colorado estimates from the establishment and household surveys, including greater geographic detail, are available at: Estimates for all states and the nation are available at:

The June Colorado Employment Situation will be released on Friday, July 18.

The full schedule of release dates for calendar year 2014 estimates is available at

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.