State's jobless rate slips to 7.9 percent

BILL RADFORD Updated: November 20, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: November 20, 2012

Colorado’s unemployment rate edged down a tenth of a percentage point in October from the month before to 7.9 percent, matching the national rate, the state Department of Labor and Employment reported Tuesday.

Non-farm payroll jobs increased 8,600 from September to October to 2.3 million jobs — “a strong over the month change,” said Alexandra Hall, chief economist for the Department of Labor and Employment. Private sector payroll jobs increased 8,500 and government added 100 jobs.

In addition to October’s gains, Hall noted that September’s estimate of job growth had been revised upward to 8,300 from an initial figure of 7,000.

“It’s just confirming that we’re having positive job growth trends,” Hall said. “I wouldn’t say that we have reached the point yet where they are strong growth trends, but they are solid.”

The largest private sector job gains over the month were in professional and business services, education and health services, trade, transportation and utilities, and manufacturing. No sector experienced what Hall considered to be significant declines. About 700 construction jobs were shed during the month, but in looking at the year-over-year change, “we’re seeing good, solid job growth in that sector,” Hall said.

Over the past year, nonfarm payroll jobs in the state have increased 42,100. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, is down from 8.1 percent in October 2011.

Payroll jobs estimates are based on a survey of business establishments and government agencies; the unemployment rate is calculated from a survey of households.

Colorado was among 37 states that saw their unemployment rates fall in October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; seven states posted increases and six saw no change.

Nevada continued to record the highest unemployment rate among the states, at 11.5 percent in October. Rhode Island and California posted the next highest rates, 10.4 and 10.1 percent, respectively. North Dakota again had the lowest rate at 3.1 percent.

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