05 January 2011

Employment Trends

Colorado wages fell in 2009. Mining (-18.8%), construction (-16.4%), real estate (-8.5%) and wholesale trade (-8.5) had wages that were hit hardest; farming (+15.1%), military pay (+14.2%), hospitals (+8.0%) and the fishing/forestry industry (+6.8%) boomed. Private sector compensation fell 4.5% in 2009 in Colorado, while government compensation rose 5.4% mostly due to rising military pay. Pay per job actually rose an average of 1.8% in 2009, but overall wages in the state fell because the number of jobs well.

Unemployment in November increased from 8.2% in October to 8.7% in the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield metro area, from 6.3% in 6.8% in the Boulder metro area, and from 9.3% to 10.3% in the Pueblo metro area according to the Labor Department.

Despite the gloomy news, the net migration to Colorado as shown by moves in v. moves out of Allied Van Lines showed Colorado second only to Texas.

The national news leaves a little more room for optimism, but only a little:

[N]onfarm private employment grew . . . in December, at a pace well above what is usually associated with a declining unemployment rate. . . . September’s employment gain of 29,000, October’s gain of 79,000, November’s gain of 92,000 and December’s gain of 297,000 [show a positive trend]. Strength was also evident within all major industries and every size business tracked in the ADP Report. . . Construction employment was unchanged in December, ending continuous monthly declines since June 2007. The decline in Construction employment, since its peak in January 2007, is 2,306,000.

From here and here both quoting consultancy ADP.

Note that, due to population growth, it takes about 125,000 new jobs a month to keep the unemployment rate constant.

The public sector took its job hit in September 2010. "A net total of 159,000 government jobs were lost in September. Local governments cut 76,000 jobs . . . most of them teachers. That's the largest cut by local governments in 28 years. About 77,000 temporary federal census jobs ended and state governments shed 7,000 jobs."

The move to trim public sector workforces in the face of weak state and local tax revenues and Republican claims that there are too many public employees who make too much money could easily confound all the job gains being made in the private sector.

Updated: 1-6-2011

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