Local unemployment rate plummets to 3.7 percent


The unemployment rate for September in Archuleta County fell to 3.7 percent, which is nearly an entire percentage point lower when compared to August and three full percentage points lower when compared to September 2013.

While the total workforce shrank slightly over the month, from 6,597 to 6,533, there were three more people in the county holding jobs, according to a report issued last week by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

In August there were 6,291 people working in Archuleta County and 306 claiming unemployment, while in September those numbers were 6,294 and 239. This pushed the unemployment rate down from 4.6 percent to 3.7 over the month.

In addition, the picture is quite a bit better than last year, when the September 2013 unemployment rate was 6.7 percent and there were only 5,263 people employed in the county, with 420 who claimed unemployment.

Looking at the employment situation for the rest of the state, Costilla County had the highest unemployment rate for the month with 7.6 percent, while Jackson County had the lowest with 1.6 percent, and the average for the entire state decreased four-tenths of a percentage point to 4.7 percent. The last time the Colorado unemployment rate was as low as 4.7 percent was June 2008.

The number of people participating in the labor force decreased by 400 over the month and the number of people reporting themselves as employed increased by 11,300. The increase in total employment and the decrease in labor force caused the number of unemployed to decrease 11,700 and the unemployment rate to decline to 4.7 percent.

Over the year, the unemployment rate declined 1.9 percent from 6.6 percent in September 2013. The number of Coloradans participating in the labor force increased 50,300, total employment increased 101,700 and the number of unemployed decreased 51,500.

By comparison, the national unemployment rate decreased two-tenths of a percentage point over the month to 5.9 percent and declined from 7.2 percent in September 2013 to 5.9 percent in September 2014.

Colorado’s total employment reached a series peak of 2,611,300 in March 2008, the number of unemployed reached a series peak of 246,700 in October 2010, and the unemployment rate peaked at 9.1 percent in October 2010 and has declined almost without interruption since.

The unemployment rate, labor force, labor force participation, total employment and the number of unemployed are based on a survey of households. The total employment estimate derived from this survey is intended to measure the number of people employed.

Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates, on the other hand, are based on a survey of business establishments and government agencies and are intended to measure the number of jobs, not the number of people employed.

The business establishment survey covers about seven times the number of households surveyed and is therefore considered a more reliable indicator of economic conditions.

Because the estimates are based on two separate surveys, one measuring jobs by worksite and the other measuring persons employed and unemployed by household, estimates based on these surveys may provide seemingly conflicting results.

Employers in Colorado added 14,600 nonfarm payroll jobs over the month for a total of 2,464,500 jobs, the CDLE report continued. Private sector payroll jobs increased 14,700 and government jobs decreased 100. Colorado has now had 35 consecutive months of payroll job gains.

The largest over-the-month private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and financial activities. There were no private sector over-the-month declines.

Over the year, nonfarm payroll jobs increased 67,400. Private sector payroll jobs increased 62,400 and government increased 5,000. The largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality, education and health services, and professional and business services. Financial activities and information declined over the year.

Other series based on the survey of business establishments and government agencies include private sector average weekly hours, average hourly earnings and average weekly earnings. Over the year, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 35.2 to 34.3 hours and average hourly earnings increased from $26.11 to $26.39.