Jobless rate in Colorado Springs falls to lowest point since 2009

by WAYNE HEILMAN wayneh@gazette.com - Published: December 5, 2013 | 4:05 pm 0

The Colorado Springs area unemployment rate fell to a nearly five-year low in October, but it remains one of the highest in the state, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Thursday.

The area's 8.1 percent jobless rate is the lowest since February 2009, and is down from 8.2 percent in September and 8.3 percent in August - the last data released before the federal government shutdown in October.

The area's unemployment rate has fallen every month since July even as the number of people employed or looking for jobs has declined by nearly 1,800 since June. The local jobless rate was 9 percent in October 2012 and peaked at 10 percent in late 2010.

"This reinforces what our own surveys have shown - that businesses of every size are hiring because of a more robust local economy, at least compared with the last few years," said Tom Binnings, senior partner of Summit Economics LLC, a local economic research and consulting firm. "There may have been a lull in October, but that is likely a temporary result of the federal government shutdown. Many firms are reporting difficulty in filling openings with existing applicants."

Unemployment rates fell in every other metropolitan area in Colorado except for Boulder, which remained unchanged at 5.2 percent, though the number of people employed or looking for work declined in all seven metro areas in September and October.

And Colorado Springs had the second-highest unemployment rate among the state's seven metro areas. Only Pueblo's was higher. Binnings said the area's unemployment rate generally is higher than the rest of the state because of retired military personnel and spouses of active-duty military seeking employment.

The state's unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, the lowest since January 2009 and down from 6.9 percent in September.

The U.S. jobless rate was 7.3 percent in October, up from 7.2 percent during the previous month. November's national unemployment rate will be released on Friday.

Other data in the report showed that Colorado Springs-area payrolls, indicating the number of jobs added, rose in October by 0.9 percent compared with a year earlier, but were down 1,000 jobs from the previous month. The October year-to-year growth rate is the slowest this year and results entirely from a surge of hiring in the tourist industry. Without 3,000 additional jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector, local employment would have declined by 700 from a year ago amid job losses in the financial services, information technology and professional and business services sectors.

The unemployment rate is calculated from the results of a survey of residents, while the payroll data comes from a survey of employers.

unemployment in colorado

Boulder: 5.2 percent

Denver: 6.5 percent

Fort Collins: 5.5 percent

Grand Junction: 7.9 percent

Greeley: 7.3 percent

Colorado Springs: 8.1 percent

Pueblo: 9.5 percent

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

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