Press Release: Colorado Employment Situation – March 2023

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Colorado’s Unemployment Rate Falls to 2.8 Percent
Continues to Trend Below U.S.


Household survey data

  • According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined one-tenth of a percentage point in March to 2.8 percent compared to the February rate of 2.9 percent. The number of unemployed individuals fell by 1,700 over the same time period to 91,000. Colorado’s unemployment rate has been below 3.0 percent for eleven consecutive months and remains at pre-pandemic levels. The national unemployment rate also fell by one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.5 percent from February to March.
  • Colorado’s labor force increased by 10,300 in March to 3,227,300. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force rose to 68.5 percent in March, compared to 68.3 percent the month prior. The U.S. labor force participation rate was 62.6 percent in March, increasing one-tenth of a percentage point from the month prior.
  • The number of individuals employed in Colorado grew by 11,900 in March to 3,136,300, which represents 66.5 percent of the state’s 16+ population. The rate of 66.5 percent is unchanged from a year prior. The national employment-to-population ratio rose two-tenths of a percentage point in March to 60.4 percent.


Establishment survey data

  • Nonfarm payroll jobs in Colorado declined by 4,700 from February to March for a total of 2,879,800 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs decreased by 6,200, while government added 1,500 jobs.
  • February estimates were revised down to 2,884,500, and the over the month change from January to February was a gain of 3,000 rather than the originally estimated increase of 6,200 (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: other services (≈1,200). Significant over the month private sector declines occurred in professional and business services (≈2,200), trade, transportation, and utilities (≈2,000), and financial activities (≈1,900).
  • Since March 2022, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 33,400, with the private sector growing by 24,700 and government adding 8,700 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (≈15,700), professional and business services (≈12,900), and educational and health services (≈4,600). During that same period financial activities (≈6,400), trade, transportation, and utilities (≈5,000), construction (≈1,800), and information (≈1,300) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 1.2 percent, lagging the U.S. rate of 2.7 percent.
  • Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased from 32.9 to 33.1 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $33.72 to $35.21, over two dollars more than the national average hourly earnings of $33.18.


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 April 2023 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Friday, May 19, 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 March 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 March 2023
City Report March 2023
County Report March 2023
March 2023 Press Release