Press Release: Colorado Employment Situation – February 2023

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6,200 Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Added in February;
Unemployment Rate Rises Slightly to 2.9 Percent

Household survey data

  • According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point in February to 2.9 percent compared to the January rate of 2.8 percent. The number of unemployed individuals increased by 2,200 over the same time period to 92,700. Colorado’s unemployment rate has remained below 3.0 percent for ten consecutive months and remains at pre-pandemic levels. The national unemployment rate grew two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.6 percent from January to February.
  • Colorado’s labor force increased by 10,700 in February to 3,217,000. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force rose to 68.3 percent in February, compared to 68.1 percent the month prior. The U.S. labor force participation rate was 62.5 percent in February, increasing one-tenth of a percentage point from the month prior.
  • The number of individuals employed in Colorado grew by 8,500 in February to 3,124,400, which represents 66.3 percent of the state’s 16+ population. The rate of 66.3 percent is one-tenth of a percentage point higher than a year ago. The national employment-to-population ratio was unchanged in February at 60.2 percent.

Establishment survey data

  • Employers in Colorado added 6,200 nonfarm payroll jobs from January to February for a total of 2,887,700 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased by 4,400 and government added 1,800 jobs.
  • January estimates were revised down to 2,881,500, and the over the month change from December to January was a loss of 700 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 February were: leisure and hospitality (~1,500). There were no significant private sector over the month declines.
  • Since February 2022, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 46,700, with the private sector growing by 38,800 and government adding 7,900 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (~19,200), professional and business services (~17,000), and educational and health services (~5,000). During that same period financial activities (~3,600), trade, transportation, and utilities (~2,100) and construction (~1,500), and information (~800) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 1.6 percent, lagging the U.S. rate of 2.9 percent.
  • Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 32.9 to 32.7 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $33.77 to $35.68, nearly two dollars and sixty cents more than the national average hourly earnings of $33.09.


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 March 2023 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Friday, April 21, 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 February 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 February 2023
City Report February 2023
County Report February 2023
February 2023 Press Release