The Colorado Springs area job market remained stuck in neutral in May as the unemployment rate stayed at 8.2 percent for a third consecutive month and payroll growth slowed to the lowest rate this year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.

Area payrolls grew 1.3 percent from a year earlier to 253,900 jobs in May, the slowest growth rate since December, with gains in the tourism, health care, retail and construction industries offsetting job losses in manufacturing, information technology, financial and professional services.

The 8.2 percent jobless rate remained unchanged because a small gain in the number of area residents seeking work offset an even smaller decline in the number unemployed, meaning the job market is creating enough jobs for those entering the work force but not enough to reduce the unemployment rate.

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

The local economy "is coasting," said Fred Crowley, senior economist with the Southern Colorado Economic Forum.

"It is neither accelerating or decelerating. The pace is not fast enough, but is still enough to demonstrate some job growth," he said. "I guess the good news is that the job losses didn't offset the gains."

Boulder's unemployment rate also remained unchanged, while jobless rates fell in the state's five other metropolitan areas.

Colorado's jobless rate also remained unchanged in May at 6.9 percent, while the U.S. unemployment rate edged higher during the same period to 7.6 percent. Jobless rates fell in more than two-thirds of the nation's 372 metro areas in May.


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