10,700 jobs added in De­cem­ber

The un­em­ploy­ment rate in Colorado drops to 3.5 per­cent.

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS -

Colorado added 10,700 jobs in De­cem­ber, wrap­ping up 2015 with a 3.5 per­cent un­em­ploy­ment rate, ac­cord­ing to state la­bor data re­leased Tues­day.

Over the year, non­farm pay­roll jobs were up by 46,600, ac­cord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary em­ploy­ment data from the Colorado Depart­ment of La­bor and Em­ploy­ment.

If the De­cem­ber es­ti­mates hold, the new jobs— 10,000 in the pri­vate sec­tor and 700 in govern­ment — would ac­count for the largest monthly jobs gain of 2015. The monthly num­bers are sea­son­ally ad­justed.

The pre­lim­i­nary un­em­ploy­ment rate for De­cem­ber matches the pre- re­ces­sion low of 3.5 per­cent in April 2007. The last time Colorado’s rate fell below that level was May 2001, when un­em­ploy­ment was 3.3 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to la­bor data.

The largest jobs gains from Novem­ber to De­cem­ber were in con­struc­tion, man­u­fac­tur­ing, and leisure and hos­pi­tal­ity.

The only ma­jor sec­tor to lose jobs was min­ing and log­ging, which recorded a month- over- month loss of 400 jobs to 34,100. The be­lea­guered clus­ter in­cludes min­ing, quar­ry­ing, oil and gas, and nat­u­ral gas ex­trac­tion, and sup­ports ac­tiv­i­ties such as ge­ol­ogy. The sec­tor has shed 1,400 jobs in the past year, ac­cord­ing to state la­bor force data.

State econ­o­mist Alex Hall, mind­ful of sink­ing com­mod­ity prices and pres­sures in the fos­sil fuel in­dus­try, said she and state of­fi­cials are watch­ing for rip­ple ef­fects that the de­clin­ing oil and gas sec­tor might have on the broader econ­omy.

But right now, pay­roll jobs are climb­ing and un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance claims are av­er­ag­ing 10 per­cent below last year’s lev­els, she said.

“I think that bodes well for where we are,” she said.

Na­tion­ally, the un­em­ploy­ment rate held steady at 5 per­cent. Non­farm pay­rolls in­creased in 36 states.

The un­em­ploy­ment rates in Colorado and the U. S. are down 0.7 per­cent­age points and 0.6 per­cent­age points, re­spec­tively, from De­cem­ber 2014.

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