Press Release: Colorado Employment Situation – December 2023

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Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Increase by 300 in December;
Unemployment Rate Rises to 3.4 Percent

Household survey data

  • According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point from November to December to 3.4 percent. The number of unemployed individuals grew by 1,700 over the same time period to 109,600. The national unemployment rate was unchanged in December at 3.7 percent.
  • Colorado’s labor force decreased by 400 in December to 3,249,300. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force was unchanged at 68.4 percent in December, compared to the month prior. The U.S. labor force participation rate was 62.5 percent in December, shrinking three-tenths of a percentage point from the month prior.
  • The number of individuals employed in Colorado declined by 2,100 in December to 3,139,800, which represents 66.1 percent of the state’s 16+ population. Colorado’s employment-population ratio of 66.1 in December is one-tenth of a percentage point lower compared to the month prior. The national employment-population ratio dropped three-tenths of a percentage point to 60.1 percent in December, compared to the November rate of 60.4 percent.

Establishment survey data

  • Employers in Colorado added 300 nonfarm payroll jobs from November to December for a total of 2,914,000 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs decreased by 1,700, while government added 2,000 jobs.
  • November estimates were revised down to 2,913,700, and the over the month change from October to November was a loss of 2,500 jobs, rather than the originally estimated decline of 700 (monthly revisions are based on additional responses from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates).
  • The Private industry sectors with significant job loss in December were: professional and business services (≈1,500) and manufacturing (≈1,300). There were no significant over the month increases.
  • Since December 2022, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 24,100, with the private sector growing by 1,100 and government adding 23,000 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (≈11,900), educational and health services (≈9,800), and professional and business services (≈4,900). During that same period trade, transportation, and utilities (≈10,400), financial activities (≈8,500), construction (≈4,400), manufacturing (≈2,400), and information (≈1,800) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 0.8 percent, lagging the U.S. rate of 1.7 percent.
  • Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose from 33.1 to 33.5 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $35.16 to $36.97. Colorado average hourly earnings are two dollars and seventy cents higher than national average hourly earnings of $34.27.


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 January 2024 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Monday, March 11, 2024. Revised statewide estimates for 2023 and 2022 and some updated local information will also be released. 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 December 2023, the most current estimates available from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The reference period for the establishment survey was the pay period that includes the 12th of the month. While the household survey’s reference period typically covers the week that includes the 12th of the month, that shifted to the week that includes the 5th of the month for December. For more information on these infrequent reference week shifts, 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.

Resources Mentioned

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