Slowing and uneven job growth persists in Colorado
The latest job numbers offer a portentous picture in Colorado.
Driving the news: Job growth is slowing, which may exacerbate disparities in how the state is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why it matters: Much like national trends, the pandemic shuffled the state's labor force. Now it's easier to find warehouse workers than waiters.
State of play: Colorado had recovered all the 375,000 jobs lost during the pandemic by this past March, but economists and policymakers are concerned about the uneven recovery.
- Employers added 4,500 jobs in June, the latest numbers released Friday show, building to a year-over-year total of 111,700 new jobs — a 4.1% increase.
The big picture: Colorado's unemployment fell to 3.4% in June, positioning the state in the middle of the national pack but below the average of 3.6%.
- Labor force participation increased to 70% of adults (a new record, according to state economists), which ranks second in the nation.
Yes, but: It's the second consecutive month of lower growth numbers after 15,000-job surges in February and April. "Colorado is slowing more than you might expect," state labor economist Ryan Gedney told reporters Friday.
Zoom in: The leisure and hospitality sector made significant gains in June, adding 2,300 jobs amid the summer tourism season. But it's still 2% behind its pre-pandemic levels, an Axios Denver analysis finds.
- Two other sectors which remain behind compared to February 2020 are government and mining and logging.
What they're saying: The disparities are drawing attention from lawmakers, who expressed concern after a recent economic briefing. "As we start to see the economy may be slowing down, I'm concerned … that these sectors aren't going to come back as strong," state Rep. Leslie Herod said.
What to watch: The financial sector shed 1,900 jobs in June, as mortgage services took a hit with rising interest rates.
- The construction industry remains in positive territory, but declines are likely moving forward, Steven Byers, an economist at the business-backed Common Sense Institute, told Axios Denver.
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