Revised numbers point to job gains instead of losses for Springs area

WAYNE HEILMAN Updated: February 25, 2013 at 12:00 am • Published: February 25, 2013

Anticipated revisions to state and local numbers paint a brighter picture of the Colorado Springs job market.

The Springs area was gaining, not losing jobs, during the third quarter of last year, according to data released Monday by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

The area added an average of more than 1,700 jobs a month compared with the same month a year earlier during the quarter, according to expected revisions to the monthly estimates produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The federal agency had estimated late last year that the area was losing nearly 3,700 jobs a month compared with the same month a year earlier, based on a nationwide survey of employers that includes the Springs.

The revisions, scheduled for release March 18, incorporate data from unemployment insurance reports most employers are required to submit quarterly to the state agency that are then compiled into a report called the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. The state agency said in a news release Monday that it will estimate revisions to the payroll data for the entire state and its seven metropolitan areas when the quarterly reports become available to "provide the most accurate picture of Colorado's employment situation possible."

The expected revisions will add 17,100 jobs to the September payroll estimate for the entire state, including 11,200 jobs in the Denver area, 6,400 jobs in the Springs area, 1,800 jobs in the Greeley area and 700 jobs in the Boulder area. Revisions for the Grand Junction and Pueblo areas will reduce payroll numbers in both cities, including 1,800 in Grand Junction and 600 in Pueblo, the Colorado agency said in the release.

The revisions to the statewide total will increase the state's job growth rate for last year to 2.3 percent, the fastest rate since 2007; that will mean that the state has recovered 82 percent of the jobs lost during the most recent recession. The U.S. ecoomy has recovered about 61 percent of the jobs loss in the last recession.

With the revisions, job growth in the Springs for last year will be just under 1 percent, compared with losses of nearly 2 percent before the revisions.

The average of 1,700 jobs gained in the third quarter would put the area at nearly 30 percent of the annual job growth goal of 6,000 Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach announced during an August speech to what is now called the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance. Bach's goal is based on employment estimates from a separate survey of households, which includes self-employed individuals along with those on payrolls that survey now shows the area's employment down nearly 4,800, but that number also will be revised in coming months.

Bach wants the alliance to lead the way in generating 6,000 non-military jobs for the local economy during each of the next three years — a number that one economist estimates would slash the area’s jobless rate, now at 9 percent, by nearly half to 5.4 percent by 2015. That’s a level generally considered to be full employment.

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