5,800 Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Added in March;
Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.7%
Household survey data
According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point in March to 3.7 percent. This marks the lowest rate since February 2020, when it was 2.8 percent. The national unemployment rate declined two-tenths of a percentage point in March to 3.6 percent.
Other highlights from the household survey:
- Colorado’s labor force grew by 12,300 in March to 3,211,700. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force improved to 68.9 percent last month, the highest rate since March 2020. The state continues to experience a faster rate of recovery in the participation rate than the U.S.
- The number of individuals employed in Colorado increased by 21,300 in March to 3,093,500, which represents 66.4 percent of the state’s 16+ population. Colorado’s employment-to-population ratio has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels.
- The Colorado counties with the highest unemployment rates in March were: Huerfano (6.6%), Pueblo (5.7%), Fremont (5.2%), Las Animas (5.0%), and Rio Grande (5.0%). County-level unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted and are directly comparable to Colorado’s March unadjusted rate of 3.5 percent.
Establishment survey data
Employers in Colorado added 5,800 nonfarm payroll jobs from February to March for a total of 2,834,500 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 5,100 and government rose by 700. Over the past 23 months, Colorado has added 389,400 nonfarm payroll jobs, compared to losses totaling 374,500 in March and April 2020. That translates to a job recovery rate of 104.0 percent, which exceeds the U.S. rate of 92.8 percent.
Since May 2020, Colorado’s private sector has grown by 392,300 jobs, compared to declines of 358,800 in early 2020. That translates to a job recovery rate of 109.3 percent and outpaces the U.S. rate of 95.9 percent.
Other highlights from the establishment survey:
- February estimates were revised up to 2,828,700, and the over the month change from January to February was a gain of 15,900 rather than the originally estimated increase of 14,100 (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 March were: leisure and hospitality (~4,200), professional and business services (~1,300), and manufacturing (~1,000). Significant over the month private sector job loss occurred in construction (~2,300).
- Since March 2021, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 131,200, with the private sector growing by 121,400 and government adding an additional 9,800 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (~51,700), professional and business services (~30,300), and trade, transportation, and utilities (~14,200). There were no significant private sector over the year declines. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 4.9 percent, compared to the U.S. rate of 4.5 percent.
- Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 33.0 to 32.9 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $31.32 to $33.85, two dollars and twelve cents more than the national average hourly earnings of $31.73.
All Colorado estimates from the establishment and household surveys, including greater geographic detail, are available at: http://www.colmigateway.com. Estimates for all states and the nation are available at: http://www.bls.gov.
The April 2022 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Friday, May 20, 2022. The full schedule of release dates for calendar year 2022 estimates is available at http://www.colmigateway.com.
This release provides information on industry employment and labor force statistics for March 2022, 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.