Unemployment rate in Weld County drops again to 2.1 percent in April
May 19, 2017
April Unemployment Numbers 2017
» Boulder — 1.8
» Colorado Springs — 2.5
» Denver-Aurora-Lakewood — 2.1
» Fort Collins — 1.9
» Grand Junction — 3.2
» Greeley — 2.1
» Pueblo — 3.2
Source: Colorado Department of Employment and Labor
Just when you thought Weld County's unemployment rate couldn't drop any lower, it did.
The unemployment rate dropped yet again in April, and by three-tenths of a percentage point, sinking to 2.1 percent, according to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
April's rate was nearly 2 percentage points lower than in April 2016, when it was 3.8 percent.
The department released its monthly report of results of a survey of households and businesses, which offers preliminary numbers on job growth and unemployment. The numbers are not adjusted for seasonal variations.
In Weld, the data showed that there were 153,533 available jobs reported in the labor force, with 150,385 people employed. About 3,148 people labeled themselves as unemployed in the county, a slight drop from 3,572 in March.
Weld's unemployment rate sits right below the statewide rate, which also, according to the survey of households, decreased three-tenths of a percentage point in April to 2.3 percent. That's the lowest unemployment rate for Colorado since the state began measuring it in 1976, according to a news release.
Ryan Gedney, senior economist for the Colorado Department of Labor, said that while a historically low unemployment rate can make it difficult to fill vacancies, there are a few sources that can help alleviate the lack of labor supply.
First, he said there will be multiple high school and college students looking for summer job opportunities, as well as college graduates who will be permanently joining the workforce.
"A second source of labor supply are the individuals and families who are moving to Colorado because they're encouraged by the healthy and diverse labor market of the state," he said. "Over a quarter of a million people a year move to Colorado from another state or country, and that influx in migration is essential in filling vacancies."
However, he said a higher cost of living and housing in the state could deter those thinking about moving here.
Gedney also said the rate workers are leaving their jobs to seek career opportunities elsewhere in the state is the highest it has been in 10 years. That obviously both fills and creates vacancies for businesses, he said.
Across the state, 1,800 total nonfarm payroll jobs were added from March to April for a total of 2,635,900 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 3,600 and government decreased 1,800.
The number of people actively participating in the labor force increased 12,100 over the month to 2,945,300 and the number of people reporting themselves as employed increased 19,500 to 2,876,900. That caused the number of those unemployed in the state to decrease 7,300.
Gedney said the state has about a one-to-one ratio when comparing the number of job seekers to the number of jobs available. He said when the recession hit several years ago, there were about six to seven job seekers per job opening. About 20 percent of those who are marked as unemployed are job leavers, he said, which is a normal percentage.
Over the year, the average work week for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased from 33.2 to 33.6 hours and average hourly earnings increased from $27.42 to $27.72, the release said.
From March to April, the largest private sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality, trade, transportation, and utilities and other services. Education, health services and construction jobs had the largest over the month declines.
The national unemployment rate now sits at 4.4 percent, which is down from 5.0 percent in April of last year. The last time the U.S. unemployment rate was below 4.4 percent was when it was at 4.3 percent in May 2001, Gedney said.