Press Release: Colorado Employment Situation – September 2023

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1,500 Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Added in September;
Unemployment Rate Rises to 3.2 Percent

Household survey data

  • According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point in September to 3.2 percent compared to the August rate of 3.1 percent. The number of unemployed individuals grew by 3,600 over the same time period to 103,500. The national unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in September, unchanged from the month prior.
  • Colorado’s labor force decreased by 2,500 in September to 3,252,600. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force fell slightly to 68.6 percent in September, compared to 68.7 percent the month prior. The U.S. labor force participation rate was 62.8 percent in September, matching the rate it was in August.
  • The number of individuals employed in Colorado declined by 6,100 in September to 3,149,100, which represents 66.4 percent of the state’s 16+ population. Colorado’s employment-population ratio of 66.4 in September was two-tenths of a percentage point lower compared to the August rate of 66.6 percent. The national employment-population ratio was flat in September at 60.4 percent.

Establishment survey data

  • Employers in Colorado added 1,500 nonfarm payroll jobs from August to September for a total of 2,917,800 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs decreased by 600, while government added 2,100 jobs.
  • August estimates were revised up to 2,916,300, and the over the month change from July to August was a gain of 5,900 rather than the originally estimated increase of 5,600 (monthly revisions are based on additional responses from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates).
  • The Private industry sector with significant job gains in September was: professional and business services (≈2,300). Significant over the month private sector job loss occurred in other services (≈2,600).
  • Since September 2022, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 40,000, with the private sector growing by 21,000 and government adding 19,000 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality (≈22,300), professional and business services (≈9,000), and educational and health services (≈5,900). During that same period financial activities (≈8,100), trade, transportation, and utilities (≈4,800), construction (≈4,200), information (≈1,800), and other services (≈600) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 1.4 percent, lagging the U.S. rate of 2.1 percent.
  • Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined from 33.5 to 33.4 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $34.44 to $35.75. Colorado average hourly earnings are one dollar and eighty-seven cents higher than national average hourly earnings of $33.88.


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 October 2023 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Friday, November 17, 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 September 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 September 2023
City Report September 2023
County Report September 2023
September 2023 Press Release