January 2015 Colorado Employment Situation

Important note: It is a routine practice at the beginning of each year for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to revise estimates for prior years based on new information available and updated methodologies. Revisions to the unemployment rate and all related household survey based series as a result of the benchmark process this year were particularly significant due to a change to American Community Survey based inputs. All series were revised back to 1976.

Employers in Colorado added 3,700 nonfarm payroll jobs from December to January for a total of 2,496,500 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 6,400 and government decreased 2,700.

According to the survey of households, the unemployment rate was unchanged from December 2014 to January 2015 at 4.2 percent. The number of people actively participating in the labor force increased 3,500 to 2,827,700 and total employment increased 4,900 to 2,709,500 causing the number of unemployed to decline 1,400. However, due to rounding, the unemployment rate was unchanged from December at 4.2 percent. The national unemployment rate increased one-tenth of one percentage point over the same period to 5.7 percent.

Change in Colorado Total Nonfarm Payroll, Annual 2007-2014

Over the year, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 34.2 to 33.6 hours and average hourly earnings increased from $26.04 to $26.61.

The largest over the month private sector job gains were in education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and construction. Professional and business services declined over the month.

Over the year, nonfarm payroll jobs increased 71,100 with an increase of 70,500 in the private sector and an increase of 600 in government. The largest private sector job gains were in education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and construction. Information declined over the year.

Over the year, the unemployment rate is down one and six-tenths of a percentage point from 5.8 percent in January 2014. The number of Coloradans participating in the labor force increased 38,100, total employment increased 80,600 and the number of unemployed decreased 42,500. The national unemployment rate declined from 6.6 to 5.7 percent from January 2014 to January 2015.

Revised figures show Colorado lost 155,400 payroll jobs from a peak of 2,362,700 reached May 2008 to a trough of 2,207,300 reached January 2010. Revisions also indicate full recovery occurred in March 2013 when Colorado total nonfarm payroll jobs exceeded the May 2008 peak and reached a level of 2,363,500.

The annual growth rate of Colorado nonfarm payroll jobs was 3.3 percent in 2014 revised up from 2.7 percent. The U.S. annual payroll jobs growth rate in 2014 was 1.9 percent.


All Colorado estimates from the establishment and household surveys, including greater geographic detail, are available at: http://www.colmigateway.com. Estimates for all states and the nation are available at: http://www.bls.gov.

Also released are the benchmark revisions to all household survey based series estimates back to 1976.

The Current Employment Statistics payroll jobs series for 2013 and 2014 were also revised in the benchmarking process. Updates to seasonal factors caused minor revisions back to January 2010.

The February 2015 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Friday, March 27, 2015. The full schedule of release dates for calendar year 2015 estimates is available at http://www.colmigateway.com.


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:    March 17, 2015/ 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
Web:    http://www.colmigateway.com