Press Release: Colorado Employment Situation May 2020

For Immediate Release

Date: June 19, 2020/ 8:00 A.M.
Contact: Office of Government and Public Relations


Important note: This release provides information on industry employment and labor force statistics for May 2020, the most current estimates available from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The reference period for the establishment and household surveys was the pay period or week that includes the 12th of the month. Therefore, this release provides an estimate of Colorado’s employment situation during the first stages of the Governor’s Safer at Home order, which resulted in a return to work for some Coloradans. For more information on Colorado unemployment insurance claims activity and related statistics, please visit For information regarding impacts to Bureau of Labor Statistics data collection and processing during the pandemic, go to


Employers in Colorado added 68,800 nonfarm payroll jobs from April to May for a total of 2,539,900 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 80,800 and government declined by 12,000. April estimates were revised down to 2,471,100, and the over the month change from March to April was a decrease of 325,800 rather than the originally estimated decrease of 323,500.

According to the survey of households, the unemployment rate decreased two percentage points from April to May to 10.2 percent. Additionally, the previously reported April 2020 unemployment rate of 11.3 percent was revised up to 12.2 percent.

The number of people actively participating in the labor force in May increased 8,400 over the month to 3,063,200 and the number of people reporting themselves as employed increased 69,600 to 2,750,700, causing the number of unemployed to decrease 61,200 and the unemployment rate to decline to 10.2 percent. The national unemployment rate decreased one and four-tenths of a percentage point in May to 13.3 percent.

Over the year, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased from 33.2 to 33.7 hours and average hourly earnings increased from $30.22 to $31.39.

Significant over the month private sector job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality (~29,700), educational and health services (~23,000), other services (~6,700), manufacturing (~6,500), construction (5,900), professional and business services (~5,200), financial activities (~3,500), and trade, transportation, and utilities (~2,000). The largest over the month decline was in information.

Over the year, nonfarm payroll jobs decreased 236,200, with a decline of 221,500 in the private sector and a decline of 14,700 in government. The largest private sector job losses were in leisure and hospitality, trade, transportation, and utilities, and educational and health services. There were no private sector over the year job gains.

Over the year, the unemployment rate is up seven and four-tenths of a percentage point from 2.8 percent. The number of Coloradans participating in the labor force decreased 69,800, total employment decreased 293,900 and the number of unemployed increased 224,100. The national unemployment rate increased from 3.6 percent in May 2019 to 13.3 percent in May 2020.


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 June 2020 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Friday, July 17, 2020. The full schedule of release dates for calendar year 2020 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.


Supplemental Information Available in Link
Labor Force Summary May 2020
City Report, May 2020
County Report, May 2020
May 2020 Press Release