Colorado’s unemployment rate dropped, but so did the number of people in the workforce |

Colorado’s unemployment rate dropped, but so did the number of people in the workforce

Tamara Chuang
The Colorado Sun
Visitors and residents walk along Main Street in Breckenridge on a snowy evening March 4, 2021.
Liz Copan/Summit Daily News archive

Ups and downs in the Colorado economy led to a mixed employment report for December. The state’s unemployment rate sunk to 3.3% from November. But also dropping? The number of Coloradans in the labor force.

That means during a month when more people traditionally take on a part-time or seasonal job, fewer were working or looking for work. Approximately, a drop of 7,200 individuals. It pulled the labor force participation rate down to 69%, or two-tenths of a point lower than in November. Ryan Gedney, senior economist with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, reminded that data always gets a second look so after revisions in the next few months, the December labor market may not seem so sour.

“We really saw a fast increase in the participation rate earlier in 2022 and then we’ve really seen it decline over the past three to four months,” Gedney said Friday during a news conference.  “But really, the change in the participation rate isn’t that great, moving from 69.6% (in August) to 69% (in December). The state has constantly been in the top five in participation rates for 2022 (compared) to the nation and other states.”

Colorado’s labor force is still near an all-time high, at 3,244,700 people, as of December.

And even though some workers dropped out of the job market, Colorado businesses said they added jobs in December — or 8,600 nonfarm payroll jobs, according to the business establishment survey. That’s how the state calculates the job recovery from the worst of the pandemic. Colorado has recovered 127.8% of the jobs lost in March and April 2020.

Read the full story on

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.