Colorado jobless rate dips to 4%
November 20, 2007
DENVER ” Tourism-related businesses and retailers added workers in October as the unemployment rate dipped two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.7 percent, state labor officials said Tuesday.
With the growth, Colorado remains on track to post at least a 2 percent increase in the work force for the year despite some slowing in the economy, state labor economist Joseph Winter said.
“Job creation is in a pretty good place when you consider the unemployment rate has been consistently under 4 percent,” he said. “There has been a slowing but there hasn’t been a marked slowing that is evident in the national economy.”
University of Colorado economist Richard Wobbekind said he believes the work force will increase at least 2 percent if not more this year, noting gains in professional and business services, private education, health care and tourism.
The state’s jobless rate compared with 3.9 percent in September and 4.2 percent in October 2006. The national unemployment rate for October was unchanged at 4.7 percent.
Colorado’s non-agricultural work force increased to 2.33 million last month, up 2,200 jobs from September and up 47,200 jobs from October 2006, according to the Colorado labor department’s seasonally adjusted statistics.
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Six of the 11 industries added workers in October, led by leisure and hospitality, up 1,300, and trade, transportation and utilities, up 900.
Employment fell in government, information and manufacturing, and was unchanged in natural resources and mining and construction, the seasonally adjusted numbers showed.
As the year draws to an end, professional and business services employment continues to lead the state, adding 13,000 jobs since October 2006. On its heels is a 10,200 job increase in education and health services since the year-ago period. Leisure and hospitality, and trade, transportation and utilities also were leading gainers.
On the minus side, manufacturing has lost 4,300 jobs and construction was down 2,300 jobs from October 2006, the seasonally adjusted figures showed.
Wobbekind believes the information sector, which includes high-tech and telecommunications businesses, has rebounded from a bust that occurred when the dot-com industry went bust. However, he noted, the slowing national economy may dampen future growth.
Other concerns are the troubled housing market, rising oil prices and consumer confidence, he said.