February unemployment rate remains steady | Western Colorado

The state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged last month over January, holding steady at 6.6%, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reported Friday.

As a result, Colorado wasn’t doing as well as other parts of the nation, which averaged at 6.2% unemployed.

Last month, the state’s labor force grew by 3,800 workers to about 3.2 million.

The share of Coloradans who are participating in the labor force remained steady at 68.6%, which is slightly lower than the pre-pandemic rate of 68.7%.

“Colorado’s labor force participation rate is nearly back to where it was pre-pandemic,” said Ryan Gedney, chief economist for the department. “Colorado’s recovery in labor force participation ranks as the sixth fastest in the nation.

The total job gains of 219,100 for the past 10 months represent a recovery of a little over 58%. That ranks as the 30th fastest rate of recovery in the nation.”

The industries that saw the most job gains in February were leisure and hospitality (9,700), and education and health services (2,200). Those two industries have much to make up for because they saw the most job losses since the pandemic began a year ago.

Leisure and hospitality lost about 72,400 jobs since then, while education and health services lost 11,200 over the past year.

The industries with significant job losses last month were professional and business services (2,900), and financial activities (1,100).

Locally, unemployment rates in the six-county region remained relatively the same. Only Mesa County saw a slight decrease, from 8% in January to 7.8% last month. (The department initially reported Mesa County’s unemployment rate in January at 7.9%, but later readjusted it upwards.)

Other counties in the region saw slight increases in their unemployment rate except for Rio Blanco County, which went from 6.8% in January to 7.6% last month.

Montrose, Delta, Moffat and Garfield counties saw rates in February between 6.3% (Garfield) to 7.3% (Delta).

Montrose and Moffat counties had rates at 6.8% and 6.9%, respectively.

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