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Colorado unemployment rate falls to pre-pandemic level

DENVER — Colorado’s unemployment rate reached COVID-19 pandemic levels in January 2023, a faster recovery than the state achieved in the past two national recessions. 

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.8% in January, a pretty remarkable feat given the COVID-era jobless rate high in May 2020 was 11.6%.

January marked nine straight months of sub-3% unemployment in Colorado, according to data released Monday by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Despite the strong unemployment-rate showing, Colorado failed to add any private-sector jobs in January.

January was a “weak month for the private sector,” CLDE senior economist Ryan Gedney said.

But, he said, “it was historically cold and historically snowy” the week that CDLE’s data was collected, which does impact jobs figures, especially in sectors such as construction.

Nationally, the unemployment rate declined by one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.4% in January, good for a 54-year low mark.

In the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado regions, Boulder County led the way with a seasonally adjusted January jobless rate of 2.5%, up from 2.1% in December. Broomfield County’s January and December unemployment rates were 2.6% and 2.2%, respectively; Larimer County 2.7% and 2.3%; and Weld County 3.2% and 2.7%.

Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 33.5 to 33.4 hours, according to CLDE, while average hourly earnings grew from $34.18 to $36.14, more than three dollars ahead of the national average hourly earnings of $33.03.

With last week’s Silicon Valley Bank collapse fresh on the mind’s of economists and business leaders, all eyes are on the information, technology and startup communities, members of which relied on the Santa Clara, California-based institution for financing and banking services. 

“The recovery was a little bit weaker” in information and technology sectors, Gedney said. “I could certainly see some impacts [of the SVB collapse and the broader uncertainty around technology startups, banks and venture capital] leaking into the state. I don’t think the state would be immune.”

Source: BizWest