December 2015 Colorado Employment Situation

Employers in Colorado added 10,700 nonfarm payroll jobs from November to December for a total of 2,539,400 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 10,000 and government increased 700.

Graph of Colorado Nonfarm Payroll Jobs StatsAccording to the survey of households, the unemployment rate decreased one-tenth of a percentage point in December to 3.5 percent. The number of people actively participating in the labor force increased 7,600 to 2,819,100 and total employment increased 10,200 to 2,719,800 causing the number of unemployed to decrease 2,600 and the unemployment rate to decline to 3.5 percent. The national unemployment rate remained unchanged from November to December at 5.0 percent.

Over the year, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 34.1 to 33.4 hours and average hourly earnings increased from $26.44 to $27.15.

The largest over the month private sector job gains were in construction, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing. The only over the month decline was in mining and logging.

Over the year, nonfarm payroll jobs increased 46,600 with an increase of 41,300 in the private sector and an increase of 5,300 in government. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality, construction, and education and health services. The largest private sector job declines were in professional and business services, information, and mining and logging.

Over the year, the unemployment rate is down seven-tenths of a percentage point from 4.2 percent and is at the lowest level since April 2007. The number of Coloradans participating in the labor force decreased 5,100, total employment increased 15,200, and the number of unemployed decreased 20,300. The national unemployment rate declined from 5.6 percent in December 2014 to 5.0 percent in December 2015.

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 2016 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Monday, March 14, 2016. Revised statewide estimates for 2015 and 2014 and some updated local information will also be released. The full schedule of release dates for calendar year 2016 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.

For Immediate Release

Date:    January 26, 2016/ 8:00 A.M.

Contact:    Office of Government and Public Relations

Phone:    Bill Thoennes at (303) 318-8004 or Cher Haavind at (303) 318-8003

Fax:    (303) 318-8070