Press Release: Colorado Employment Situation – November 2021

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9,800 Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Added in November;Unemployment Rate Declines to 5.1%

Employment Situation Graphs - Nov 2021

Household survey data

According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point in November to 5.1 percent. The national unemployment rate declined by four-tenths of a percentage point to 4.2 percent.

Other highlights from the household survey:

  • Colorado’s labor force increased by 3,100 in November to 3,199,900. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force held at 68.2 percent last month. 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 grew by 10,700 in November to 3,036,100, which represents 64.7 percent of the state’s 16+ population. Colorado’s employment-to-population ratio has trended upward over the past three months.

  • The Colorado counties with the highest unemployment rates in November were: San Miguel (7.6%), Huerfano (6.8%), Pueblo (6.6%), Pitkin (6.1%), and Fremont (5.8%). County-level unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted and are directly comparable to Colorado’s November unadjusted rate of 4.4 percent.

Employment Situation Image 2 - Nov 2021
Employment Situation Image 3 - Nov 2021

Establishment survey data

Employers in Colorado added 9,800 nonfarm payroll jobs from October to November for a total of 2,765,400 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 9,400 and government added 400 jobs. Over the past 19 months, Colorado has gained back 322,200 of the 375,800 nonfarm payroll jobs lost between February and April of last year. That translates to a job recovery rate of 85.7 percent, which exceeds the U.S. rate of 82.5 percent.

Other highlights from the establishment survey:

  • October estimates were revised down to 2,755,600, and the over the month change from September to October was a gain of 9,900 rather than the originally estimated increase of 10,600 (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 November were: professional and business services (~3,900), education and health services (~2,000), financial activities (~1,800), other services (~1,400), and trade, transportation, and utilities (~1,100). Significant over the month private sector job loss occurred in leisure and hospitality (~1,700).

  • Since November 2020, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 117,500, with the private sector growing by 104,800 jobs and government adding an additional 12,700 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (~50,700), professional and business services (~25,200), and trade, transportation, and utilities (~15,700). During that same period, construction (~1,400) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 4.4 percent, compared to the U.S. rate of 4.1 percent.

  • Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 34.3 to 33.1 hours, while average hourly earnings increased from $31.27 to $33.05, over two dollars more than the national average hourly earnings of $31.03.



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 December 2021 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Friday, January 21, 2022. 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 November 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 November reference week overlaps a period in which COVID-19 case rates for Colorado and the nation remained elevated compared to earlier in the year. For information on 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.




Resources Mentioned

Supplemental Information
Labor Force Summary November 2021
City Report November 2021
County Report November 2021
November 2021 Press Release

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