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Jobs Expand In Colorado, But Wages Aren’t Keeping Up

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Colorado’s job market continues to expand – but that’s not the case for the average paycheck.

The state ranks 16th in the nation in terms of job growth, up from 17th place in June, according to a new report from the AIM Workforce Index. Job growth, however, is not the same as wage growth – and average wages, say experts, are going nowhere fast, because of the types of jobs being added.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss told Colorado Public Radio that average wages are not keeping up with inflation.

"Some of that is just because jobs are being added in low wage occupations," Goss said. "Not the fact that people in higher wage occupations are not getting pretty good wage increases, but that we’re adding jobs at the lower end of the wage spectrum."

The index, which is produced by Creighton University and Applied Information Management, shows most of the expansion in Colorado is occurring in the finance, engineering, and customer service sectors. The state's unemployment rate is currently 5.5 percent.

Nationwide, the report shows the highest job growth happening in North Dakota, Pennsylvania and South Dakota. Goss said much of that is due to the expansion of oil and gas drilling.

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