Thursday, May 10, 2018

Unemployment Rates in Colorado Near What They Were During the Late-90s Boom

According to the  most recent monthly data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Colorado in March 2018 fell to 2.9 percent, down from 3.3 percent in February. March's rate was up slightly from March 2017's rate of 2.8 percent.

This continues a nine-year trend, beginning in 2010, in which unemployment rates in general have been falling in Colorado, and in its metro areas.

It also continues a trend in which Colorado's unemployment rate has been lower than the national rate.  Since May of 2013, Colorado has had a lower unemployment rate than the US overall in every month. In March 2018, the nationwide unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

Through Colorado Metro areas, similar trends of declining unemployment have existed in recent years. Although rates have inched up slightly since mid-2017, unemployment rates nevertheless remain quite low.

In March, Colorado's metro areas had the following unemployment rates:

US 4.1
Colorado 2.9
Ft Collins 2.5
Denver-Aur 2.8
Greeley 2.7
GJ 4.0
Colo Spr 3.4
Pueblo 4.4
Boulder 2.5

Graphed monthly, the metros compare like this:

To add a bit more clarity, though, I've graphed the rates at 3-year intervals for each  metro area, for March of each year: 

We find that Boulder tends to consistently have the lowest unemployment rate in the state. Grand Junction and Pueblo, on the other hand, tend to have the highest rates. Overall, though, rates statewide are near where they were in 2000 before the dot-com bust, and during the very large economic expansion of the late 1990s and early 2000s in Colorado. 

There are signs that the economy in Colorado is cooling down, but at this time, there are not signs of large changes in current employment trends.