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Jobs Added, but Unemployment Still Reaches New High

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CO Division of Housing

Colorado’s unemployment rate has hit its highest level in 35 years, and officials say part of the reason may be the strengthening U. S. labor market.

In February, Colorado employers actually added jobs – about 3,000 non-farm payroll jobs, with the private sector accounting for almost all of them.  But the increase in employment wasn’t enough to keep the unemployment rate from edging up two-tenths of a percent, to 9.3%. 

During the height of the recession when jobs were scarce, many people simply stopped looking for work, removing themselves from the unemployment rate calculation.

 “So when we start seeing news about companies hiring, positive signs that we’re seeing movement in the right direction, then these people take an interest again in getting back into the labor market,” says Alexandra Hall, chief economist for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.  “You have more people coming into the labor market than jobs being created, causing the unemployment rate to rise.”

Colorado’s jobless rate is now higher than the national figure of 8.9%. The U. S. Labor Department says unemployment rates went up in seven states, dropped in 27, and remained unchanged in 16. Nevada saw the largest decrease, although that state still has the nation’s highest jobless rate at 13.6%.

 

As host of KUNC's Colorado Edition, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. And because life is best when it's a balance of work and play, I love finding stories that highlight culture, music, the outdoors, and anything that makes Colorado such a great place to live.