Colorado Springs-area job growth in 2018 fell to its slowest pace in five years, according to revised data released Monday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Employers added 6,300 jobs last year, for 2.2 percent growth, down from 7,900 jobs and 2.9 percent growth in 2017 and the fewest new jobs since employers added 5,600 jobs in 2014.
The area’s job growth was slightly slower than the statewide 2.4 percent average and was the second-slowest in the state after Pueblo, which added just 100 jobs, for 0.2 percent growth. Among Colorado’s seven metropolitan areas, Greeley had the fastest job growth at 4.3 percent.
Job growth in the Springs likely is slowing due to a shortage of qualified applicants for openings, a problem being reported by employers across the state, said Ryan Gedney, senior economist for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
The revisions sliced nearly 10,000 jobs from the numbers reported earlier, which showed the Springs with the nation’s fourth-fastest growing job market, adding nearly 16,000 jobs for a growth rate of nearly 4 percent. Those numbers are based on monthly surveys of a few employers and are revised annually to incorporate information from quarterly unemployment insurance reports that most employers must file.
Before the revisions, the monthly numbers had showed that Colorado Springs job growth accelerated in all but two months last year, starting at 2.2 percent in January and ending at 5.6 percent in December.
Gedney said most of the revisions in Colorado Springs and across the state were made in the leisure and hospitality and business and professional services sectors. Colorado’s employment growth also was revised downward, but not as sharply as the Colorado Springs data.
Gedney said the need for the large revisions stemmed from how the federal agency built its sample for the survey in Colorado Springs, but he could not comment further due to federal and state laws keeping individual employer data confidential. The bureau had made major upward revisions to its job growth numbers for the Springs every year since 2010.
The area’s job growth continued in January, but it slowed to 1.6 percent when compared with January 2018, the slowest monthly rate since March 2014. Nearly two-thirds of the growth came from the health care industry, which added 1,600 jobs from a year earlier, and the business and professional services sector, which added 1,300 jobs.
The agency also reported that Colorado’s unemployment rate rose from 3.6 percent in December to 3.7 percent in January, the highest rate since August 2015. The state’s jobless rate was 2.9 percent in January 2018.
Colorado’s unemployment rate averaged 3.3 percent last year, up from 2.7 percent in 2017, mostly due to its labor force growing the fastest of any state in 2018.
Contact Wayne Heilman 636-0234