DENVER — Colorado’s unemployment rate fell to 3.6% in April, and the state is experiencing one of its highest employment-to-population and labor force participation rates in a decade. , according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
April’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.6% was a tenth of a percentage point lower than the 3.7% rate it was in March, and was again the highest rate. lowest since February 2020, just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The April rate of 3.6% also matched the U.S. April rate – the first time since October 2021 the two rates are the same. The recovery from the COVID-induced recession and unemployment rate peaking from 11.8% in May 2020 to April’s rate of 3.6% in 23 months was much faster than the 58 months of the Great Recession .
According to CDLE senior economist Ryan Gedney, the number of unemployed Coloradans fell by 1,800 people from March to April, to a total of 116,700. In February 2020, when the unemployment rate was 2.8% , there were about 86,000 unemployed Coloradans.
Although there were 30,000 fewer unemployed at the time, Colorado’s employment-to-population ratio rose again to 66.6% in April, the fifth highest in the nation, which tops February 2020 levels of 66.5% but is slightly below January 2020 levels of 66.7. %, says Gedney.
The employment-to-population ratio measures the share of the state’s population 16 and older that is employed. Gedney said the last time the employment-to-population ratio was at least 67% was in early 2009. The US rate in April was “substantially” lower than Colorado’s, at 60%, according to Gedney. . The number of people employed increased by 15,400 month-on-month.
Similarly, Colorado’s labor force participation rate rose to 69.1% in April, the third highest nationally behind Nebraska and North Dakota. It was 68.9% in March. The last time it was 69% in Colorado was in early 2012, Gedney said. The US rate was 62% in April, below the pre-pandemic rate of 63.4%.
Colorado has seen the third fastest recovery in labor force participation since February 2020 among U.S. states, Gedney said.
Colorado’s labor force grew by an additional 13,600 people from March through April — the fourth straight month the state has seen labor force gains of more than 10,000 people. The summer of 1994 was the last time the state saw four consecutive labor force gains of at least 10,000, Gedney said.
Colorado’s unadjusted unemployment rate in April was 3.1%. The counties with the highest unemployment rates in April were Huerfano (6.1%), Pueblo (5.1%), Fremont (4.8%), Las Animas (4.7%) and Rio Grande (4 .5%).
Of Colorado’s seven metropolitan areas, Pueblo had the highest rate. Denver, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and Greeley all had rates between 3.1% and 3.4%. And Boulder (2.4%) and Fort Collins (2.6%) had the lowest unemployment rates among major metropolitan areas.
Colorado added 403,500 nonfarm payroll jobs after the state lost 374,500 in March and April 2020, for a recovery rate of 107.7%.
The private sector regained 407,600 private sector jobs out of 358,800 lost in the first two months of the pandemic, for a recovery rate of 113.6% in the private sector.
“Colorado’s strong economic growth proves we are stronger and more resilient than ever,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement. “Our successful efforts to save money on everyday items, reduce property taxes for individuals and businesses, and help Coloradans keep more of their hard-earned money will help further improve our economy and job growth.”