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Government job growth lifts Colorado’s July employment as hospitality declines

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(The Center Square) – Colorado gained 800 non-farming jobs in July but would have been in negative territory if not for state and local governments adding 2,700 jobs, according to employment data released Friday.

Colorado’s leisure and hospitality sector lost 3,500 jobs last month, “the largest single-month loss since December 2020,” an analysis of the data by the he Common Sense Institute said. The sector added 89,500 jobs between January 2021 and July and its employment grew 2.38% since January 2020.

The accommodation and food services category in leisure and hospitality lost 3,700 jobs, a decline of 1.2% in July. The arts, entertainment and recreation category grew by 200 jobs or .35% in July.

Private employment decreased by 1,900 jobs in July after losing 400 jobs in June. That’s “the first consecutive months of private sector job losses since June – July of 2022,” CSI said.

The state’s unemployment rate rose to 2.9% in July after four months at 2.8%, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s data.

CSI’s analysis found Colorado’s employment-to-population ratio was higher than pre-pandemic levels for the fourth consecutive month, based on a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of households. However, the BLS survey of business establishments revealed the state hasn’t yet recovered to the pre-pandemic employment-to-population ratio.

“The pandemic caused a major shock to the composition of Colorado’s job market in early 2020 and may have induced some structural change in the long run,” CSI stated.

Professional and business services in Colorado grew 7.7% since the start of 2020. However, employment in the mining and logging sector decreased 16.8% during the same period. The analysis said the decrease is likely the result of the combination of global trends and state policy.

CSI also analyzed the labor force participation rate of women and women with children. The labor force participation rate of women with children declined 3.5% between January 2020 and last month. During the same period, the participation rate of women without children increased .6%.

“Childcare challenges have become a barrier to work for parents, predominantly affecting women, who are inclined to take on more unpaid caregiving responsibilities,” Tamra Ryan, a fellow with the Common Sense Institute, wrote in a report published last month. “Families without access to reliable childcare work fewer hours or not at all.”

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