Colorado’s unemployment rate is rising, but still lower than the US | Business

Colorado’s unemployment rate jumped to 3.1% in August, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reported Friday, the first time in more than a year that the state’s rate has topped 3%.

The increase, which state economist Ryan Gedney called statistically insignificant, could be attributed to a small drop in employment and a slight increase in the labor force.

The number of unemployed people in Colorado rose by 4,700 in August to 99,800, while Colorado’s labor force increased by 2,500 over the same period to 3.25 million, according to a survey of households.

Colorado continued to outpace the national rate, which saw a slightly larger jump in unemployment, from 3.5% in July to 3.8% in August.

Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate hovered around 2.8% for most of the past 12 months before rising to 2.9% in July. Whether the small rise in unemployment in August makes sense remains to be seen, Gedney said at a news conference.

“I think (unemployment) is going to stay in that range,” Gedney said. “As we speak around this time every year, we’ll start going through our annual revisions that affect our unemployment estimates … and so it’s possible that we could see those numbers come down.”

While the survey of households showed a rise in unemployment, the survey of businesses showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 5,600 from July to August, for a total of 2.9 million jobs.

Private-sector jobs rose by 9,100, with the leisure and hospitality sector the biggest gainer, adding 4,700 jobs.

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However, the number of government jobs fell by 3,500 in August.

“This may be an artifact of the early reference week, which may not reflect typical school staffing for that month,” Gedney said.

“I would like to remind you that the base week was August 6-12, and it is possible that the August indicator will be revised next month.”

Monthly changes in salary estimates are made on the basis of additional responses from enterprises and government agencies.

Among the state’s seven metropolitan areas, Colorado Springs’ 3.8% and Denver’s 3.6% are in the middle of the pack for unemployment rates; fares for the metro area are not seasonally adjusted.

Pueblo’s unemployment rate of 4.9% was the highest among Colorado’s metropolitan areas; Fort Collins had the lowest rate at 3.2%.