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Regional unemployment continues downward push

DENVER — Jobless rates across the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado ticked down in December, further evidence of the regions’ economic comeback from the COVID-19 downturn.

Statewide, the December seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.3%.

The Colorado figure has fluctuated only slightly between 3.3% and 3.6% since last April. 

Locally, Boulder County led the way in December with a non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 2.2%, down from 2.6% in November. Broomfield and Larimer counties posted December rates of 2.4%, down from 2.8%. Weld County’s rate dropped to 3% last month from 3.5% in November. 

The jobless rates in the Boulder Valley and Larimer County are hovering just above their historic lows in 2019, which, according to Ryan Gedney, senior labor economist with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, was “the end of a very long economic expansion” and represent a “really good benchmark” for comparison to the current ultra-low unemployment environment. 

“How long can these go?” Gedney asked rhetorically. “… You might be able to squeeze out a little lower unemployment, but not much.”

Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 33.1 to 32.9 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $33.36 to $35.52, $2.70 more than the national average hourly earnings of $32.82, according to CDLE statistics. 

Source: BizWest