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Report finds Colorado job market continues to stabilize, median wages decline

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Joe Mueller

(The Center Square) – Colorado’s job market was more stable during the third quarter after declining in the previous quarter, according to a new report.

The Colorado Chamber of Commerce and Aspen Technology Labs released research on Monday showing job vacancies increased slightly (1.1 percent) during the third quarter. The organizations reported an 8 percent decline during the second quarter, showing a loosening of the labor market.

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Median wages for open positions continued to decline. After a decrease of 2.5 percent during the second quarter to a median wage of $58,490, the category fell another 1.3 percent during the third quarter to $57,491. However, the wage ranked 11th nationally.

Part-time wages fell from a median of $18 per hour in the second quarter to $17.50 in the third. However, the median part-time salary ranked 17th nationally.

“Colorado employers and job seekers have faced years of volatility in the jobs market,” Loren Furman, president and CEO of the Colorado Chamber, said in a statement. “A major pressure point for the business community has been ensuring we have the available workers to fill jobs across the state. While we have a long way to go in addressing the major issues driving our workforce challenges, more certainty and stability in the jobs market would be welcome news for Colorado employers.”

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Colorado was ranked 11th in the number of job vacancies per capita, dropping from ninth in the second quarter. The highest number of job vacancies were in health care and technical occupations (13,862), sales and related occupations (8,900), management (7,254), office and administrative support (6,732) and food preparation and serving-related occupations (5,890).

The report found the occupations with the largest job growth was sales and related occupations with 727 openings, an 8 percent increase compared to the previous quarter, and in food preparation and serving-related occupations with 591 openings, a 10 percent increase.

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The Fort Collins area reported a 4 percent decline in job vacancies in the third quarter after a 14 percent decline during the second quarter. Montrose, Grand Junction and Durango had increases in job vacancies of between 3 percent and 4 percent.

The highest median full-time salary was in Boulder at $62,410, followed by Denver ($60,694) and Colorado Springs ($59,998).

“These and other job market insights in the report can be used by Colorado employers to make informed, data-driven decisions that will help keep their businesses competitive and the state business climate where it belongs ­–­ ahead of others in the nation,” Michael Woodrow, president of Aspen Technology Labs, said in a statement.