Press Release: Colorado Employment Situation – May 2024

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9,800 Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Added in May;
Unemployment Rate Increases Slightly to 3.8 Percent

Household survey data

  • According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point in May to 3.8 percent compared to the April rate of 3.7 percent. The number of unemployed individuals grew by 3,400 over the same time period to 123,600. The national unemployment rate also increased one tenth of a percentage point to 4.0 percent from April to May.
  • Colorado’s labor force decreased by 2,800 in May to 3,234,000. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force declined one-tenth of a percentage point to 67.9 percent in May, compared to the month prior. The U.S. labor force participation rate was 62.5 percent in May, shrinking two-tenths of a percentage point from the month prior.
  • The number of individuals employed in Colorado fell by 6,300 in May to 3,110,400, which represents 65.3 percent of the state’s 16+ population. Colorado’s employment population ratio of 65.3 in May was one-tenth of a percentage point lower compared to the April rate of 65.4 percent. The national employment-population ratio also declined one-tenth of a percentage point in May to 60.1 percent.


Establishment survey data

  • Employers in Colorado added 9,800 nonfarm payroll jobs from April to May for a total of 2,991,100 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs grew by 7,900, while government added 1,900 jobs.
  • April estimates were revised up to 2,981,300, and the over the month change from March to April was a gain of 500 rather than the originally estimated increase of 300 (monthly revisions are based on additional responses from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates).
  • The private industry sectors with significant job gains in May were: professional and business services (≈3,700), leisure and hospitality (≈2,100), and construction (≈1,300). There were no industries with significant over the month declines.
  • Since May 2023, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 55,400, with the private sector growing by 29,900 and government adding 25,500 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in educational and health services (≈16,300), professional and business services (≈9,300), and leisure and hospitality (≈6,600). During that same period, payroll jobs declined in trade, transportation, and utilities (≈6,000), construction (≈2,300), and information (≈2,300). Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 1.9 percent, slightly outpacing the U.S. rate of 1.8 percent.
  • Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased from 32.9 to 33.5 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $35.46 to $37.77, two dollars and eighty-six cents more than the national average hourly earnings of $34.91.



Informational Section

All Colorado estimates from the establishment and household surveys, including greater geographic detail, are available at Colorado LMI Gateway. Estimates for all states and the nation are available at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For data visualizations, visit CDLE’s Labor Market Information on Tableau.

The June 2024 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Friday, July 19, 2024. The full schedule of release dates for calendar year 2024 estimates is available at Labor Market Information.


Technical Notes

This release provides information on industry employment and labor force statistics for May 2024, 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

May 2024 Press Release