Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased two-tenths of a percentage point to 8.6% in November, according to Donald J. Mares, executive director for the Colorado Dept. of Labor and Employment. “For the first time in three years, we’ve now had three consecutive months of wage and salary job growth,” Mares said. “While the unemployment rate is increasing at the same time we’re adding jobs, this seeming contradiction is easily explained by the number of people returning to the labor force this month.”

The number of working Coloradans fell 2,400 over the month to 2,433,900, while the civilian labor force increased 4,500 to 2,663,800. The number of residents unsuccessfully looking for work increased 6,900 over the month to 229,900. One year ago, total employment was 2,457,200, the civilian labor force was 2,652,700 and the number of unemployed was 195,500. The civilian labor force has increased 11,100 since November 2009.

The unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) increased in 62 of Colorado’s 64 counties and decreased in two. The lowest rate was 3.9% in Cheyenne County and the highest was 15.8% in Dolores County. In November 2009, the unemployment rate increased in 45 counties, decreased in 14 counties and remained unchanged in five. Last year, the lowest rate was 2.7% in Cheyenne County and the highest was 14.1% in Dolores County.

Wage and Salary Employment The monthly survey of Colorado business establishments indicates the number of nonfarm wage and salary jobs increased 3,800 in November to 2,208,300.

Employment increased over the month in four of Colorado’s 11 major industry sectors. Professional and business services increased 2,400, leisure and hospitality 2,300, education and health services 1,200, and construction 1,000. Employment declined in trade, transportation and utilities by 1,000, manufacturing 700, financial activities 600, government 500, information 200, and other services 100.  There was no change in mining and logging.

Nonfarm payroll employment decreased 0.5% over the year, or 10,500, from the November 2009 level of 2,218,800.

Employment increased in five of Colorado’s 11 major industry sectors over the year. Education and health services increased 8,300, professional and business services 2,300, leisure and hospitality 1,200, other services 200 and mining and logging 100. The remaining six industry sectors declined over the year. Construction, down 9,400, continues to post the largest decline of all industry sectors. Information declined 3,500, government 2,700, trade, transportation and utilities 2,600, financial activities 2,500, and manufacturing 1,900.

National The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the nation’s unemployment rate increased to 9.8% in November, and nonfarm payroll employment increased 39,000. Since December 2009, nonfarm payroll employment has increased by 951,000 and private-sector employment has increased by 1,171,000. Temporary help services and health care continued to add jobs, while employment fell in retail trade.