Report: Colorado’s Unemployment Remains Low

Piles of $1 bills are strewn about.
Colorado’s unemployment rate remains below the national average. / Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and Gov. Jared Polis announced July 21 the state’s unemployment rate remained at 2.8% for June, remaining below the national average of 3.6%.

According to a press release, the state’s economy saw an increase of 3,300 private sector jobs in June, which was the third consecutive month that number grew in Colorado. 

“Colorado’s business-friendly environment continues to attract more companies to move, grow or invest here, further [strengthens] our economy and supports good paying jobs,” Polis said in a press release. “I am committed to expanding new opportunities for Coloradans to access the resources and training they need to reach their career goals and further develop our workforce.” 

For June, the labor force participation rate remained at 68.7% the press release noted, and was just below pre-pandemic levels.

According to a July 18 press release Polis, in partnership with the Colorado Community College System, announced the launch of Career Advance Colorado. The press release said the initiative will provide free training for in-demand jobs through the state’s 19 community and technical colleges. The announcement added it aims to prepare more than 20,000 Coloradans for high-skill careers while also responding to the state’s most critical workforce shortages. 

The program, according to the announcement, is funded by House Bill 23-1246, which dedicated nearly $39 million to fully cover tuition, fees, course materials and other costs for training in priority areas including construction, early childhood education, education, forestry, firefighting, law enforcement and nursing.

“Having worked in the education sector for decades, I’ve seen the impact of our state’s teacher shortage up close,” said Colorado House Speaker Julie McCluskie in a press release. “Many sectors are facing the same challenges, so it’s imperative we take immediate action to incentivize more Coloradans into these career pathways. Through Career Advance Colorado, we have delivered a bipartisan solution that will uplift thousands of Coloradans and keep our state competitive for years to come.”

The announcement added the program will begin in the fall.

Colorado Economic Pessimism

At the end of June, the Leeds Business Confidence Index was released by the Leeds Business Research Division at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business. It featured 191 panelists including business leaders who responded to a survey June 1-20.

Overall, the report found business leaders’ pessimism extended ahead of the third quarter. The LBCI looks at the Colorado business leaders’ expectations for the national economy, state economy, industry sales, profits, hiring plans and capital expenditures. All six areas of the LBCI reported negative perceptions ahead of the third quarter with the index being the lowest for the national economy, while it was highest for industry sales. 

“Despite the economy demonstrating resiliency in the first half of the year, Colorado Business leaders’ pessimism extended for another quarter ahead of Q3 2023, often citing interest rates, inflation, and general concerns about a recession,” the report said. 

The report did note fewer respondents believed the U.S. would enter a recession in 2023 compared with the last quarter (42.9% versus 56.9%).

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