DENVER — Colorado added jobs for the 29th straight month in March, and as the good economic news mounts, more people are seeking work, the state's chief economist said Friday.
Alexandra Hall told reporters the additional job seekers could put pressure on unemployment figures even as the number of jobs increases. The state's unemployment rate for March was 6.2 percent, slightly up from the previous month's 6.1 percent. But compared to March, 2013 unemployment was down from 7 percent.
"We're seeing a lot of people moving into the labor force," Hall said. "Their confidence is returning."
Employers also are optimistic, according to a business confidence index released Thursday by the University of Colorado's Leeds School of Business. A broader study released by the school Thursday showed unemployment was down and wages and personal income up in Colorado over the first three months of 2014.
According to the state labor department's survey of businesses released Friday, the state had 3,300 more non-farm jobs in March than in the previous month, for a total of more than 2.4 million. Job growth was seen in almost every metropolitan area. In Greeley, the one area that did not see month-to-month growth, conditions were flat, and Hall expected that to be revised up given the boom in oil and gas in that area.
Jobs in trade, transportation and utilities, construction and other services accounted for most of the increase from February to March. The largest declines were in professional and business services.
Hall added job conditions had not only returned to pre-recession rates, but surpassed earlier peaks.