The Denver Post

Hiring accelerate­s in May, pushing rate down

- By Aldo Svaldi

Strong tourism-related hiring contribute­d to a gain of 7,700 nonfarm jobs in the state last month, which pushed the unemployme­nt rate down a notch to 2.8 percent, according to a monthly update from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

“It is surprising that Colorado job growth is so strong given the lack of qualified workers,” said Broomfield economist Gary Horvath.

The number of people active in the workforce rose by 8,200 to 3,064,200 between April and May, while the number of unemployed fell by 2,900. The unemployme­nt rate, which in April dipped below 3 percent for the first time in 7 months to 2.9 percent, dropped again to 2.8 percent in May.

The U.S. unemployme­nt rate last month dipped to 3.8 percent, its lowest level since April 2000.

Employers in leisure and hospitalit­y added 4,300 jobs on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the largest gain measured in any sector last month. Over the year, payrolls in that sector are up 17,600, also the largest gain.

Other big contributo­rs to job gains last month included trade, transporta­tion and utilities, and profession­al and business services.

Compared to a year ago, the average workweek now stands at 34.1 hours versus 33.8, while average hourly earnings have increased from $27.16 to $28.40.

Horvath said expect to see lots of “Help Wanted” signs up this summer and longer wait times to get things done.

“The low unemployme­nt rate makes it even more difficult for Colorado companies to find enough qualified workers to meet the demand for their goods and services,” he said.

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