Friday, December 21, 2012

November Recovery Watch

The most recent economic data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show a decrease in the state unemployment rate from 7.9 percent in October to 7.7 percent in November, reaching a 44-month low. However, it appears the most recent decline in the unemployment rate is for the wrong reasons. During the month of November workers exited the labor force and, by one measure, employment in Colorado decreased. The national unemployment rate also fell 0.2 percentage points from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent. However, the change in the national rate was largely due to an increase in employment, not the decrease in the size of the labor force. Also, enrollment in public assistance programs was mixed during November as Medicaid and CHP+ saw increases but enrollment declined in the SNAP program.

The unemployment rate in Colorado decreased for the fourth straight month in November. The rate fell 0.2 percentage points, from 7.9 percent in October to 7.7 percent in November. (Figure 1) The rate is 0.3 percentage points lower than November 2011, and is the lowest rate since March 2009. Nationally, the unemployment rate also dropped from 7.9 percent in October to 7.7 percent in November. However, it should be noted that the labor force declined at both the national and state level, which played a part in the lower unemployment rates. In other words, the decline was not entirely due to higher employment.  

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In the latest edition of Colorado Recovery Watch, Rice Fellow Andrew Ball examines a range of data showing where the state of Colorado stands on the road to economic recovery.

Colorado Recovery Watch is a monthly snapshot of economic data, with a special focus on jobs and public-assistance programs. Read it online, along with other analysis of jobs and economic security from the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.

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