Press Release: Colorado Employment Situation – July 2021

Hide Featured Image

For Immediate Release

Date: August 20, 2021 / 8:00 A.M.
Contact: Office of Government, Policy and Public Relations

Colorado Employment Situation – July 2021
14,800 Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Added in July;
Unemployment Rate Declines to 6.1%

Employment Situation - Chart Graphic July 2021

Household survey data

According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was little changed in July at 6.1 percent. During the same period, the national unemployment rate fell five-tenths of a percentage point to 5.4 percent.

Other highlights from the household survey:

  • Colorado’s labor force decreased by 2,800 in July to 3,193,600. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force was 68.3 percent in July, slightly below the pre-pandemic February 2020 labor force participation rate of 68.7 percent.
  • The number of individuals employed in Colorado grew by 400 in July to 2,999,500, which represents 64.2 percent of the state’s 16+ population. Colorado’s employment- to-population ratio has improved since April 2020, when it was 57.0 percent, but is still well below the pre-pandemic level of 66.8 percent.
  • The Colorado counties with the highest unemployment rates in July were: Pueblo (8.6%), Huerfano (8.4%), Las Animas (7.0%), Adams (6.8%), and Gilpin (6.8%). County-level unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted and are directly comparable to Colorado’s July unadjusted rate of 5.9 percent.
Labor Force Participation - Graphic
Individuals Employed - Graphic

Establishment survey data 

Employers in Colorado added 14,800 nonfarm payroll jobs from June to July for a total of 2,733,600 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 8,500 and government added 6,300 jobs. Over the past 15 months, Colorado has gained back 290,400 of the 375,800 nonfarm payroll jobs lost between February and April of last year. That translates to a job recovery rate of 77.3 percent, which exceeds the U.S. rate of 74.5 percent.

Other highlights from the establishment survey:

  • June estimates were revised down to 2,718,800, and the over the month change from May to June was a gain of 10,000 rather than the originally estimated increase of 10,800 (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 July were: professional and business services (~5,000), leisure and hospitality (~4,300), and education and health services (~1,000). Significant over the month private sector job loss occurred in construction (~1,600) and trade, transportation, and utilities (~1,600).
  • Since July 2020, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 140,500, with the private sector growing by 124,000 jobs and government adding an additional 16,500 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (~53,100), professional and business services (~25,300), and trade, transportation, and utilities (~24,200). During that same period construction (~2,600) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 5.4 percent, compared to the U.S. rate of 5.2 percent.
  • Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased from 33.2 to 33.9 hours, while average hourly earnings increased from $30.51 to $31.84, a dollar and thirty cents more than the national average hourly earnings of $30.54.


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 August 2021 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Friday, September 17, 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 July 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 pandemic-related restrictions were relaxed for businesses across the state. Additionally, the July reference week overlaps a period in which COVID-19 case rates for Colorado remained relatively low, prior to the recent uptick tied to the Delta variant. 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 July 2021 | City Report July 2021
County Report July 2021 | July 2021 Press Release