Colorado’s unemployment rate dropped in June to 5.5 percent, three-tenths of a percentage point lower than May’s rate of 5.8 percent, according to a news release issued Friday by the office of Government, Policy and Public Relations.
Colorado’s June jobless rate outpaced the nation’s rate of 6.1 percent.
Employment numbers are even better in La Plata County.
Joe Winter, a senior economist with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, said the non-adjusted unemployment rate for La Plata County in June is 4.3 percent, the same as May. However, the county is experiencing long-term improvement: The jobless rate was 5.9 percent in June 2013.
To compare apples to apples, he said, the non-adjusted state unemployment rate for June 2013 was 7.3 percent. In a year’s time, it dropped to 5.4 percent.
There has been a consistent decline in unemployment, and the county and state are representative of that, Winter said.
Ed Morlan, executive director of the Region 9 Economic Development District, said, “From Region 9’s standpoint, the number of jobs opening and new businesses are on the uptick.”
Many of the new jobs are technology-related or are serving an outside market, he said.
The last time the state’s employment rate was 5.5 percent or lower – taking in mind seasonal adjustments – was October 2008, when the rate was 5.3 percent.
The number of people who reported themselves as employed increased 7,700 in June.
The largest private-sector job gains in June came in trade, transportation and utilities. The largest June declines were in financial activities, construction and leisure and hospitality.
In June 2013, the adjusted unemployment rate for Colorado was 6.9 percent. The adjusted rate accounts for fluctuations in seasonal employment.
Since the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, the U.S. economy has generated 7.8 million jobs. But the gains haven’t been spread evenly across the country.
Some states have boomed. Others have struggled to add jobs.
North Dakota, benefiting from an oil-and-gas drilling boom, has created nearly 98,000 jobs during the past five years, a 27 percent increase – by far the best in the country. New Mexico, hard hit by federal spending cuts, is the only state that has lost jobs since the recession ended.
State performance in job creation defies political categories. The big winners during the past five years include Republican-dominated red states such as Texas and Democratic-dominated blue ones such as California. Likewise, the laggards include red (Alabama, Arkansas) and blue (New Jersey, New Mexico) states.
Compared with May, 33 states added jobs and 17 lost them last month. The unemployment rate dropped in 22 states from May to June, rose in 14 and stayed the same in 14.
Mississippi and Rhode Island have the nation’s highest unemployment rates, both at 7.9 percent. North Dakota has the lowest rate, at 2.7 percent.
The Great Recession, harshest since the 1930s, began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. Most states still don’t have as many jobs as they had when the recession started. All but New Mexico have more than they did when it ended five years ago.