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Press Release: Colorado Employment Situation – May 2023

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3,900 Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Added in May;
Unemployment Rate Flat at 2.8 Percent

Household survey data

  • According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged from April to May at 2.8 percent. The number of unemployed individuals grew by 600 over the same time period to 90,000. Colorado’s unemployment rate has been below 3.0 percent for thirteen consecutive months and remains at pre-pandemic levels. The national unemployment rate increased three-tenths of a percentage point to 3.7 percent from April to May.
  • Colorado’s labor force increased by 9,400 in May to 3,244,400. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force rose to 68.7 percent in May, compared to 68.6 percent the month prior. The U.S. labor force participation rate was 62.6 percent in May and was unchanged from the month prior.
  • The number of individuals employed in Colorado grew by 8,800 in May to 3,154,500, which represents 66.8 percent of the state’s 16+ population. The last time Colorado’s employment-population ratio reached 66.8 percent was in January 2020. The national employment-population ratio decreased one-tenth of a percentage point in May from the month prior to 60.3 percent.

Establishment survey data

  • Nonfarm payroll jobs in Colorado grew by 3,900 from April to May for a total of 2,900,500 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased by 2,800, while government added 1,100 jobs. Colorado’s government sector has now returned to pre-pandemic levels of employment (464,700 jobs in May 2023 compared to 462,100 jobs in February 2020).
  • The over the month change in nonfarm payroll jobs for April were revised down to show a gain of 6,100 compared to March rather than the originally estimated increase of 7,200 (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 May were: other services (≈3,900), leisure and hospitality (≈2,900), and manufacturing (≈1,300). Significant over the month private sector declines occurred in professional and business services (≈1,900), construction (≈1,800), and financial activities (≈1,200).
  • Since May 2022, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 30,200, with the private sector growing by 13,000 and government adding 17,200 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (≈21,200), professional and business services (≈7,000), and other services (≈2,700). During that same period financial activities (≈10,600), trade, transportation, and utilities (≈6,800), information (≈2,800), and construction (≈1,800) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 1.1 percent, lagging the U.S. rate of 2.7 percent.
  • Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 33.7 to 33.5 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $34.68 to $35.72, two dollars and twenty-eight cents more than the national average hourly earnings of $33.44.

Correction to Nonfarm Payroll Job Estimates

Due to a system modernization that coincided with the processing of third quarter 2022 Quarterly Census of Employment and Wage (QCEW) data, the Office of Labor Market Information discovered a nonsampling error, which resulted in an undercount of nonfarm payroll job estimates for 2022 benchmark processing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in cooperation with Colorado's Office of Labor Market Information, have released corrected employment data from September 2022 forward. This correction addresses part of the undercount issue illustrated in the third quarter 2022 expected revisions press release.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, corrected data from September 2022 forward indicate an employment increase of approximately 7,700 compared to the previously published estimates. That change is concentrated within the Denver Metropolitan Statistical Area's government sector. Additionally, state-level employment estimates for total nonfarm, government, and local government were also corrected. In addition to estimated employment levels, over the year growth rates are also affected by these changes. For instance, the previously published over the year growth rate for total nonfarm in October 2022 was 2.8%, with these corrections that figure has increased to 3.1%.

To view the corrected nonfarm payroll job estimates, visit LMI Gateway or state and metro area employment, hours and earnings at BLS. Further information on this correction can be viewed on BLS' errata page.


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 May 2023 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Friday, June 16, 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 May 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 May 2023
City Report May 2023
County Report May 2023
May 2023 Press Release