Press Release: Colorado Employment Situation – January 2023

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Unemployment Rate Has Returned to Pre-Pandemic Levels;
800 Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Added in January

Household survey data

  • According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged in January compared to the revised December rate of 2.8 percent. The number of unemployed individuals rose by 1,300 over the same time period to 90,400. As revised, Colorado’s unemployment rate has remained below 3.0 percent for nine consecutive months and has returned to pre-pandemic levels. The national unemployment rate declined by one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.4 percent, a 54-year low.

  • Colorado’s labor force increased by 8,000 in January to 3,206,400. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force rose slightly to 68.1 percent in January, compared to 68.0 percent the month prior. The U.S. labor force participation rate was 62.4 percent in January, also increasing one-tenth of a percentage point from the month prior.

  • The number of individuals employed in Colorado grew by 6,700 in January to 3,115,900, which represents 66.2 percent of the state’s 16+ population. The rate of 66.2 percent is three-tenths of a percentage point higher than a year ago. The national employment-to-population ratio was 60.2 percent in January.

Establishment survey data

Employers in Colorado added 800 nonfarm payroll jobs from December to January for a total of 2,883,000 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs were unchanged in January and government added 800 jobs. After annual revisions and the January gain of 800, Colorado has added 438,800 nonfarm payroll jobs over the past 33 months, compared to losses totaling 376,900 in March and April 2020. That translates to a job recovery rate of 116.4 percent, which exceeds the U.S. rate of 112.3 percent.

Since May 2020, Colorado’s private sector has grown by 436,100 jobs, compared to declines of 362,100 in early 2020. That translates to a job recovery rate of 120.4 percent, compared to the national rate of 115.2 percent.

Other highlights from the establishment survey:

  • Private industry sectors with significant job gains in January were: educational and health services (~2,200) and professional and business services (~1,300). Significant over the month private sector job loss occurred in financial activities (~1,300) and construction (~1,100).

  • Since January 2022, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 57,000, with the private sector growing by 52,900 and government adding 4,100 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (~20,000), professional and business services (~18,400), and trade, transportation, and utilities (~6,200). During that same period financial activities (~2,700) and information (~900) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 2.0 percent, lagging the U.S. rate of 3.3 percent.

  • Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 33.5 to 33.4 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $34.18 to $36.14, over three dollars more than the national average hourly earnings of $33.03.

Annual averages and benchmark revisions to 2022 data




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 February 2023 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Friday, March 24, 2023. The full schedule of release dates for calendar year 2023 estimates is available at


Technical Notes

It is a routine practice at the beginning of each year for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to revise estimates for prior years based on new information available and updated methodologies. Revisions to the statewide unemployment rate and all related household survey based series as a result of the benchmark process this year were made back to 2018. Additionally, county estimates back to 2010 are subject to further revisions through April 21, 2023. For information on changes to model-based estimation for the household survey, please visit nonfarm payroll jobs series for 2020 through 2022 were also revised in the benchmarking process. Additionally, beginning with the release of January 2023 data, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program implemented publication changes related to annual sample review and updated the nonfarm payroll series to the 2022 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) from the 2017 definitions. For information on how 2022 NAICS definitions impact the CES program, visit Additional information on benchmarking total nonfarm jobs estimates can be found at

This release provides information on industry employment and labor force statistics for January 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 January 2023
City Report January 2023
County Report January 2023
January 2023 Press Release