Skip to content
Colorado Employment Situation – December 2022   8,600 Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Added in December;
Unemployment Rate Declines to 3.3%  

Household survey data
According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased two-tenths of a percentage point in December to 3.3 percent. The number of unemployed individuals dropped by 6,700 over the same time period to 106,700. Colorado’s unemployment rate has ranged between 3.3 and 3.6 percent since April. The national unemployment rate declined by one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.5 percent, which translates to approximately 5.7 million unemployed.

Colorado’s labor force decreased by 7,200 in December to 3,244,700. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force fell slightly to 69.0 percent in December, compared to 69.2 percent the month prior. The U.S. labor force participation rate was 62.3 percent in December, rising one-tenth of a percentage point from the month prior.

The number of individuals employed in Colorado declined by 500 in December to 3,138,000, which represents 66.7 percent of the state’s 16+ population. The rate of 66.7 percent is nearly one and a half percentage points higher than a year ago and two-tenths of a percentage point higher than it was in February 2020. The national employment-to-population ratio was 60.1 percent in December and remains below its February 2020 level of 61.2 percent.      

Establishment survey data

Employers in Colorado added 8,600 nonfarm payroll jobs from November to December for a total of 2,911,500 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 8,000 and government added 600 jobs. Over the past 32 months, Colorado has added 466,400 nonfarm payroll jobs, compared to losses totaling 374,500 in March and April 2020. That translates to a job recovery rate of 124.5 percent, which exceeds the U.S. rate of 105.6 percent.

Since May 2020, Colorado’s private sector has grown by 458,500 jobs, compared to declines of 358,800 in early 2020. That translates to a job recovery rate of 127.8 percent and outpaces the U.S. rate of 108.0 percent. Other highlights from the establishment survey:
November estimates were revised up to 2,902,900, and the over the month change from October to November was a gain of 5,300 rather than the originally estimated increase of 4,300 (monthly revisions are based on additional responses from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates).

Private industry sectors with significant job gains in December were: professional and business services (~5,000), leisure and hospitality (~4,400), other services (~1,700), and manufacturing (~1,200). Significant over the month private sector job loss occurred in educational and health services (~2,600) and financial activities (~1,100).

Since December 2021, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 104,700, with the private sector growing by 94,800 and government adding 9,900 jobs. The largest private sector job gains were in professional and business services (~31,900), leisure and hospitality (~20,300), and educational and health services (~13,300). During that same period financial activities (~3,400) payroll jobs declined. Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 3.7 percent, outpacing the U.S. rate of 3.0 percent.
Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 33.1 to 32.9 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $33.36 to $35.52, two dollars and seventy cents more than the national average hourly earnings of $32.82.  


All Colorado estimates from the establishment and household surveys, including greater geographic detail, are available at: Estimates for all states and the nation are available at: For data visualizations, visit The January 2023 Colorado Employment Situation will be released at 8:00 AM on Monday, March 13, 2023. Revised statewide estimates for 2022 and 2021 and some updated local information will also be released. The full schedule of release dates for calendar year 2023 estimates is available at  


Technical Notes

This release provides information on industry employment and labor force statistics for December 2022, the most current estimates available from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The reference period for the establishment survey was the pay period that includes the 12th of the month. While the household survey’s reference period typically covers the week that includes the 12th of the month, that shifted to the week that includes the 5th of the month for December. For more information on these infrequent reference week shifts, go to

The unemployment rate, labor force, labor force participation, total employment and the number of unemployed are based on a survey of households. The total employment estimate derived from this survey is intended to measure the number of people employed.

Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates are based on a survey of business establishments and government agencies, and are intended to measure the number of jobs, not the number of people employed. Other series based on this survey include private sector average weekly hours, average hourly earnings and average weekly earnings.

The business establishment survey covers about seven times the number of households surveyed and is therefore considered a more reliable indicator of economic conditions. Because the estimates are based on two separate surveys, one measuring jobs by worksite and the other measuring persons employed and unemployed by household, estimates based on these surveys may provide seemingly conflicting results.