Already at a two-year low, the Colorado Springs unemployment rate in October remained unchanged from September at 3.2%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.
September’s rate was the lowest since August 2017 and is nearing the 3% low reached in the first half of 2017, the lowest since 2001. The area’s jobless rate was 4.4% in October 2018. The number of people looking for work dropped by 118 because more people found jobs than entered the job market last month.
Low unemployment helped push local wages 4.3% higher in the second quarter, the third consecutive quarter and the fourth in the past five in which wages rose at least 4%. The area’s unemployment rate averaged 3.7% during the April-to-June period, unchanged from the second quarter of 2018.
“The job market on the Front Range has remained basically unchanged for several years with moderate job growth and a tight labor market,” said Ryan Gedney, senior economist for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. “We are seeing upward pressure on wages in the past couple of years because the labor market is so tight. Wage gains may even be understated because as older workers retire they are likely being replaced by less-expensive younger workers.”
Payroll numbers, which the bureau calculates from a different source from the unemployment rate (a survey of businesses), show job growth over the past 12 months slowing to 2.3% in October, the lowest rate since June. Health care and professional and business services generated half of the 6,600 jobs added over the past 12 months with the only decline — 1,200 — coming in leisure and hospitality.
Unemployment fell statewide to 2.6%, matching the 41-year low reached in 2017. Jobless rates remained unchanged in most of the state’s metro areas with Grand Junction and Pueblo posting the only the declines at 3.3% and 4%, respectively. Boulder and Fort Collins had the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.3%.
Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234