Unlike that of its neighbors to the north, Colorado’s job and employment outlook offers a cause for optimism. The Denver Business Journal reports that the state added 12,200 jobs just in February–nearly double Colorado’s monthly average addition of non-farm jobs–and has maintained an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent for three months.
Brian Lewandowski, associate director of the Business Research Division at the Leeds School of Business in Boulder, noted impressive growth in the report:
The employment situation remained strong in Colorado, with employment increasing 3.3 percent year-over-year—an acceleration over the January pace of growth.
Having gained nearly 80,000 jobs in the past 12 months, Colorado exceeded its pre-recession peak of 2,362,7000.
Oil prices still a concern
Despite the state’s impressive workforce gains, Lewandowski warned Coloradans in a secondary report not to get too comfortable with low fuel prices:
Falling oil and gas prices will impact oil and gas industry growth in the state, (and) evidence of the slowing industry shows in the February employment numbers.
The state’s mining industry experienced a 1.1 growth in employment over the last 12 months, but flat-lined between January and February, hitting employment in oil-laden counties like Weld and Larimer especially hard.
Comparing Colorado job growth to other states, Colorado still remains one of the best recovery states in the nation in terms of employment (since the Great Recession), ranking fourth nationally for growth above the previous peak, behind only North Dakota, Texas and Utah. Colorado now measures 6.3 percent above 2008 peak employment compared to 2 percent for the nation.