Nov 9, 2021 - News
Colorado's topsy-turvy job market, explained
Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios
Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Colorado's labor market is a roller coaster.

What's happening: The state led the nation for layoffs and separations in August and ranked No. 7 for people quitting jobs, well above the national average, according to a newly released federal report that breaks down the state's labor data for the first time.

Yes, but: As companies are struggling to find workers, initial claims for unemployment are falling, Ryan Gedney, a state economist, told the Colorado Sun.

What they're saying: The contradiction highlights the flux and challenges in the current labor market.

  • "This new data series at the state level continues to add evidence that the labor market is highly volatile in the midst of recovery," said Chris Brown, an economist at the Common Sense Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank in Colorado.
  • "We have seen for months that job openings were climbing, and there was evidence popping up across different sectors that there were huge challenges from both sides of the labor market to get those filled," he added.

What to watch: Colorado ranks high among states for job openings and hirings, and economists say the statistic to watch is whether employers can keep finding workers to fill positions.

  • One warning is that the number of new jobs in September fell to less than half the monthly average, the Sun reports.

The bottom line: The three-year average job growth in the five years before the pandemic was 2.4% a year, or 80,000 jobs, state economist Chris Akers said last Friday during a presentation.

  • Looking into the future, the job growth rate is projected at 1.5%, or 55,000 jobs.
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