The most recent economic data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show a decrease in the state unemployment rate from 7.7 percent in November to 7.6 percent in December, which is the lowest unemployment rate since February 2009 when the state’s unemployment rate was 7.2 percent. Furthermore, the most recent decline in the unemployment rate seems to be a result of positive movement in the labor market. During the month of December workers entered the labor force, and according to one measure, employment increased. That said, the other common measure of employment showed a slight decrease in the number of jobs in Colorado. The national unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent through the month of December. Also, enrollment in public assistance programs increased during December as Medicaid, CHP+ and the SNAP program saw increases in enrollment.
The unemployment rate in Colorado decreased for the fifth straight month in November. The rate fell 0.1 percentage points, from 7.7 percent in November to 7.6 percent in December. (Figure 1) The rate is 0.3 percentage points lower than December 2011, and is the lowest rate since February 2009. However, Colorado’s unemployment rate is still 3.5 percentage points higher than when the recession began in December 2007. Nationally, the unemployment rate remained slightly above the Colorado rate at 7.8 percent.
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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.