Colorado Employment Situation December 2016

For immediate release

Date: January 24, 2107
Contact: Office of Government, Policy and Public Relations
Bill Thoennes at (303) 318-8004 or Cher Haavind at (303) 318-8003
Fax: (303) 318-8070

Total nonfarm payroll jobs declined 4,000 from November to December to 2,627,400 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs decreased 3,700 and government decreased 300.  

Graph Colorado Nonfarm Payroll JobsAccording to the survey of households, the unemployment rate decreased two-tenths of a percentage point in December to 3.0 percent. The number of people actively participating in the labor force increased 5,200 over the month to 2,926,100 and the number of people reporting themselves as employed increased 11,200 to 2,838,500. The larger increase in total employment than in labor force caused the number of unemployed to decline 6,000 and the unemployment rate to decrease to 3.0 percent. The national unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point in December to 4.7 percent.
Over the year, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased from 33.2 to 33.3 hours and average hourly earnings decreased from $27.03 to $26.92.

The largest over the month private sector job gains were in professional and business services and trade, transportation, and utilities. The largest over the month declines were in leisure and hospitality and education and health services.

Over the year, nonfarm payroll jobs increased 48,800 with an increase of 43,100 in the private sector and an increase of 5,700 in government. The largest private sector job gains were in professional and business services, education and health services, and construction. Mining and logging, manufacturing, and financial activities declined over the year.

Over the year, the unemployment rate is down five-tenths of a percentage point from 3.5 percent. The number of Coloradans participating in the labor force increased 93,800, total employment increased 104,700 and the number of unemployed decreased 10,900. The national unemployment rate declined from 5.0 percent in December 2015 to 4.7 percent in December 2016.

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:

The January 2017 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Monday, March 13, 2017. Revised statewide estimates for 2016 and 2015 and some updated local information will also be released. The full schedule of release dates for calendar year 2017 estimates is available at

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 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.

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.