The unemployment rate for the Colorado Springs area edged up in January to a 3½-year high as the area’s labor force contracted for the first time in a year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
The jobless rate rose from 4.5 percent in December to 4.6 percent in January, the highest since June 2015. The area’s job market typically shrinks in the wake of the holiday shopping season, though the area’s rate is adjusted for seasonal changes.
The local unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in January 2018 and has increased for three consecutive months and six of the past eight months.
“When the unemployment rate falls below 4 percent, that is often a sign of the economy overheating, and sometimes triggers a slowdown,” said Tatiana Bailey, director of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Economic Forum. “In this case, it looks like job growth and the unemployment rate are leveling off, and I would rather have more moderate and sustainable growth than booms and busts.”
Unemployment rates were unchanged from December to January in five of Colorado’s seven metropolitan areas, with Grand Junction also rising slightly to the same level as Colorado Springs. The statewide jobless rate rose from 3.6 percent in December to 3.7 percent in January, the highest since August 2015.
The agency is scheduled to release the February unemployment rate and payroll numbers for Colorado Springs and the rest of the nation’s metro areas April 3.
Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234