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Colorado Tiptoes To 4% Unemployment With Tourism, Manufacturing Leading The Way


Colorado's economy is continuing its trend of slow but stable growth. Employers added 2,000 jobs in September, and Colorado's unemployment rate edged down 0.2 of a percentage point to 4.0 percent.

"We're continuing to see what I would call 'flat' conditions -- we've been in this 4 to 4.3 percent range all year long, which makes it feel like there isn't a lot going on," said Alexandra Hall, chief economist with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

"At the same time, we know there is a lot going on behind the numbers," she added. "If you start looking at employment growth by the different sectors, you see where that activity is taking place."

Colorado's largest private sector job gains came in tourism, professional and business services, and manufacturing.

The largest over the month decline was in construction. That can be attributed partly to lingering low oil prices, Hall said, since much of Colorado's increases in construction employment have been related to the oil and gas industry's growth.

Those low oil prices are both a negative and a positive, even in states like Colorado, where the industry is a top employer.

"We're definitely seeing impacts to the job market," Hall said. "But there are some positive impacts, in that everyone has a little more money in their pocket after filling up the car, and businesses – especially those that are transportation-based or rely heavily on transportation – those costs are much lower now."

Colorado's positive employment numbers aren't being reflected elsewhere in the country, though.

Only 20 states reported job growth in September, the fewest since March 2015. The national unemployment rate for September 2015 is unchanged at 5.1 percent.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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