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Colorado unemployment rate dips to 4 percent as state adds 14,100 jobs

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Robert Davis | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) – Colorado’s unemployment rate dipped to 4 percent last month as the state added more than 14,100 nonfarm payroll jobs, according to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). 

The state's unemployment rate for February is 0.1 percent lower than January's rate. However, Colorado’s unemployment rate is still 0.2 percent higher than the national average, which dropped to 3.8 percent in February. 

Private sector employers in Colorado added 13,700 jobs while local governments added 400, according to CDLE. The state’s labor force participation rate also increased by 11,600 workers to 68.7 percent last month, representing the highest participation rate since March 2020. 

With the 14,100 total jobs added in February, CDLE said Colorado has now fully regained all the nonfarm payroll jobs that it lost in early 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Despite the overall drop in unemployment, there are several counties in Colorado that have higher-than-average unemployment rates. 

Huerfano County in southern Colorado has an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent, the highest in the state. Pueblo and Fremont counties round out the top-three counties in terms of the highest unemployment rates with 6.1 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively. 

According to an analysis of CDLE's data by the Common Sense Institute, a free-enterprise think tank, Colorado ranks 11th among the states in terms of its February 2022 job levels relative to its January 2020 levels. 

However, some industries are still lagging, such as the leisure and hospitality industry, which is still more than 17,000 jobs below its January 2020 levels. 

Other industries like arts and entertainment are experiencing similar job shortages. There are 6,700 fewer jobs in the arts today than there were in January last year and more than 10,400 fewer food service jobs, according to CSI’s analysis.