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More Jobs Added In Colorado Despite Stagnant Unemployment

J. Stephen Conn
Flickr - Creative Commons

Even with a consistent unemployment rate, nonfarm payroll jobs in Colorado increased by 6,200 between the months of January and February. It’s not just more job opportunities. Employers are paying more.

According to a survey released by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment in March of 2014, those who are participating in the labor force increased by 18,400 over February with the average wage growing from $25.31 to $26.23.

So who is paying more and why?

The vast majority of these new jobs are in the private sector, with 5,400 jobs added. Business and professional services, hospitality and leisure make up the brunt of those private sector jobs. Only 800 jobs in government were added with a significant decline in education and health services.

Broomfield economist Gary Horvath told The Denver Post that these positive developments in the private sector are a sign of things to come. He estimates another 70,000 jobs will be added throughout the rest of 2014.

"That would make it one of the top-10 years the state has had in terms of job growth since they began counting in 1939," Horvath said.

While Colorado has a good outlook, most of the western United States is not sharing the same abundance. The average unemployment rate at 7.2 percent throughout the West makes it the highest in the country. Our immediate neighbors have a leg up, with all but New Mexico having lower unemployment rates than Colorado’s 6.1 percent. That's still better than the national average of 6.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unemployment Rate of Neighboring States

So where are the best and worst states to find a job in the country?
North Dakota’s oil industry once again pushes that state to the most favorable place to find work with a mere 2.6 unemployment rate. Compare that to Rhode Island, where nine percent of that state’s workforce can’t find a job.

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