Colorado May Jobs Report Analysis and Other Economic Indicators—June 22, 2015

By Brian Lewandowski, Associate Director, Business Research Division, Leeds School of Business

The May jobs report was released for Colorado on Friday, with the preliminary numbers showing a month-over-month increase in employment (4,900 jobs, 0.2%) and an upward revision to the April estimates. According to data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), May recorded 61,100 more jobs than the same month in 2014, increasing 2.5% year-over-year. The pace of growth is slowing in Colorado according to the preliminary May numbers. After growing more than 3% for 16 consecutive months, growth slowed to 2.8%, 2.6%, and 2.5% year-over-year in March, April, and May, respectively. Every MSA in Colorado recorded slower year-over-year growth in May 2015 compared to the same period a year ago. Year-over-year growth in May ranked Colorado 11th nationally, and monthly growth ranked the state 29th.

May State Employment Growth, Year-over-Year

Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, CES, Seasonally Adjusted.

Colorado employment grew year-over-year in all of Colorado’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), while monthly growth decreased in three MSAs. Industry growth was recorded in 10 of the 11 industries in the state year-over-year, and growth was recorded in eight industries month-over-month. The velocity of growth slowed in six industries.

The greatest year-over-year percentage gains continued to be recorded in the Construction industry (8.3%), followed by Education and Health Services (5.3%) and Leisure and Hospitality (4.5%). The weakest sectors for growth included Information (-2.7%); Trade, Transportation, Business Research Division  Leeds School of Business  University of Colorado Boulder and Utilities (0.1%), and Professional and Business Services (1%). Compared to April, the strongest month-over-month growth came from Financial Activities and Information.

Growth in Colorado’s Manufacturing Sector continued to rank among the best states for industry growth—6th nationally—with 2.9% year-over-year growth in May. The sector gained 0.2% from April to May. The Construction industry showed the greatest pace of job growth year-over-year in Colorado. The industry grew 8.3%, which leaves Colorado 17,000 construction jobs (10%) below the previous industry peak in 2007.

The Mining and Logging sector in Colorado is predominately related to oil and gas activities (drilling, extraction, and support activities). The impact of the price decline is evidenced in drilling applications, rig counts, and employment. Industry growth of 3.3% was recorded year-over-year in May, but employment declined 1.1% from April to May (month-over-month). The sector has now recorded four consecutive months of employment losses. Likewise, the pace of growth in the Greeley MSA, while strong year-over-year, slowed for the fourth consecutive month, and monthly growth was modest in May after a downward revision to April. Of the 42 states with published Mining and Logging employment, only 4 states marked monthly employment growth in May, and 4 recorded year-over-year growth.

The May unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percent, to 4.3%, ranking Colorado 13th nationally. At the low end, Nebraska and North Dakota ranked 1st and 2nd, at 2.6% and 3.1%,   respectively. At the high end, Nevada and West Virginia ranked 49th and 50th, with 7% and 7.2% unemployment, respectively. Year-over-year growth (0.6%) in the Colorado labor force ranked 37th in percentage terms and 30th in absolute growth.

When compared to other states Colorado still remains one of the best recovery states in the nation in terms of employment, ranking 4th for growth above the previous peak, behind only North Dakota, Texas, and Utah. Colorado now measures 6.4% above 2008 peak employment compared to 2.4% for the nation. National job growth remained at 2.2% year-over-year in April and 0.2% month-over-month, with the United States adding 280,000 jobs compared to 221,000 in April. The three-month moving average ending in May was 207,000 compared to 264,000 a year ago.

Year-over-year growth was recorded in all of Colorado’s MSAs: Greeley (5.1%), Denver-Aurora-Broomfield (3%), Fort Collins-Loveland (2.4%), Boulder (1.8%), Colorado Springs (1.6%), Grand Junction (1.5%), and Pueblo (1.3%).

The June national jobs report will be released Thursday, July 3, 2015. The June state jobs report will be released July 18, 2015.