Press Release: Colorado Employment Situation – April 2021

Hide Featured Image

For Immediate Release

Date: May 21, 2021 / 8:00 A.M.
Contact: Office of Government, Policy and Public Relations

Colorado Employment Situation – April 2021
17,000 Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Added in April; Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 6.4%

April Employment Situation Press Release - Charts

Household survey data
According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was flat in April at 6.4 percent. During the same period, the national unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.1 percent.

Other highlights from the household survey:

  • Colorado’s labor force grew by 8,900 in April to 3,197,300. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force was 68.7 percent in April, which matches the pre- pandemic February 2020 labor force participation rate.

  • The number of individuals employed in Colorado increased by 9,600 in April to 2,992,700, which represents 64.3 percent of the state’s 16+ population. While Colorado’s employment-to-population ratio continues to improve since April 2020, when it was 57.0 percent, it is still well below the pre-pandemic level of 66.8 percent.

  • The Colorado counties with the highest unemployment rates in April were: San Miguel (10.0%), Huerfano (8.6%), Pueblo (8.6%), Gilpin (7.6%), Costilla (7.2%), and Fremont (7.2%). County-level unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted and are directly comparable to Colorado’s April unadjusted rate of 6.3 percent.

April Colorado Employment Situation - Graphic 1
April Colorado Employment Situation - Graphic 2

Establishment survey data 

Employers in Colorado added 17,000 nonfarm payroll jobs from March to April for a total of 2,690,900 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 15,200 and government added 1,800 jobs. Over the past 12 months, Colorado has gained back 247,700 of the 375,800 nonfarm payroll jobs lost between February and April of last year. That translates to a job recovery rate of 65.9 percent, which exceeds the U.S. rate of 63.3 percent.

Other highlights from the establishment survey: 

  • March estimates were revised up to 2,673,900, and the over the month change from February to March was a gain of 7,700 rather than the originally estimated increase of 6,600 (monthly revisions are based on additional responses from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates).

  • Private industry sectors with significant job gains in April were: leisure and hospitality (~9,900), education and health services (~2,900), and other services (~1,800). There were no significant private sector over the month declines.

  • Since April 2020, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 247,700, with private sector adding 257,200 jobs and government shedding 9,500. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (~111,500), trade, transportation, and utilities (~54,300), and education and health services (~37,200). During that same period, mining and logging (~3,700) and information (~1,800) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 10.1 percent, compared to the U.S. rate of 10.9 percent.

  • Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased from 32.7 to 33.7 hours, while average hourly earnings decreased from $32.05 to $31.08, approximately ninety cents more than the national average hourly earnings of $30.17.


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 May 2021 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Friday, June 18, 2021. The full schedule of release dates for calendar year 2021 estimates is available at


Technical Notes 

This release provides information on industry employment and labor force statistics for April 2021, the most current estimates available from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The reference period for the establishment and household surveys was the pay period or week that includes the 12th of the month. Therefore, this release provides an estimate of Colorado’s employment situation as vaccination rates among the adult population continued to increase and additional capacity restrictions were relaxed for businesses across the state. For Colorado unemployment insurance claims activity and related statistics, visit For information regarding impacts to Bureau of Labor Statistics data collection and processing during the pandemic, go to

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.

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 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.


Supplemental Information | Labor Force Summary April 2021
City Report April 2021 | County Report April 2021 | April 2021 Press Release