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Press Release: Colorado Employment Situation – August 2023

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5,600 Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Added in August;
Unemployment Rate Rises to 3.1 Percent

Household survey data

  • According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased two-tenths of a percentage point in August to 3.1 percent compared to the July rate of 2.9 percent. The number of unemployed individuals grew by 4,700 over the same time period to 99,800. The national unemployment rate increased three-tenths of a percentage point to 3.8 percent from July to August.
  • Colorado’s labor force increased by 2,500 in August to 3,255,000. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force remained at 68.7 percent in August, identical to the three months prior. The U.S. labor force participation rate was 62.8 percent in August, increasing two-tenths of a percentage point from the month prior.
  • The number of individuals employed in Colorado declined by 2,200 in August to 3,155,200, which represents 66.6 percent of the state’s 16+ population. Colorado’s employment-population ratio of 66.6 in August was one-tenth of percentage point lower compared to the July rate of 66.7 percent. The national employment-population ratio was flat in August at 60.4 percent.

Establishment survey data

  • Employers in Colorado added 5,600 nonfarm payroll jobs from July to August for a total of 2,916,000 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs grew by 9,100, while government shed 3,500 jobs.
  • July estimates were revised up to 2,910,400, and the over the month change from June to July was a gain of 3,400 rather than the originally estimated increase of 800 (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 August were: leisure and hospitality (≈4,700), educational and health services (≈2,800), and professional and business services (≈1,600). There were no significant over the month declines.
  • Since August 2022, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 42,700, with the private sector growing by 26,000 and government adding 16,700 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (≈24,000), professional and business services (≈7,200), and educational and health services (≈6,400). During that same period financial activities (≈7,300), trade, transportation, and utilities (≈5,500), construction (≈2,500), and information (≈1,500) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 1.5 percent, lagging the U.S. rate of 2.0 percent.
  • Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.3 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $34.11 to $35.90, two dollars and eight cents more than the national average hourly earnings of $33.82.


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:

For data visualizations, visit

The September 2023 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Friday, October 20, 2023. The full schedule of release dates for calendar year 2023 estimates is available at


Technical Notes

This release provides information on industry employment and labor force statistics for August 2023, 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.

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.

Resources Mentioned

Supplemental Information
Labor Force Summary August 2023
City Report August 2023
County Report August 2023
August 2023 Press Release