Bad News on the Colorado Jobs Front

Colorado continues to shed workers and jobs, according to the latest release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  On a seasonally-adjusted basis, Colorado’s unemployment rate held steady at 8.5%, but only because fewer people were looking for work.

Labor Force Employed Unemployed
July 2010 June 2011 July 2011 July 2010 June 2011 July 2011 July 2010 June 2011 July 2011
2,682.8 2,682.0 2,674.4 2,446.2 2,453.2 2,447.9 236.6 228.8 226.5
-8.4 -7.6 Change 1.7 -5.3 Change -10.1 -2.3 Change

Since July of last year, we have 8400 fewer people in the labor force, and the number employed has barely budged.  The number of unemployed has fallen roughly 10,000, but almost all of that is a result of people leaving the state or giving up.  In the last month alone, the labor force shrank by 7600, and we lost 5300 jobs.

In the meantime, the average duration of unemployment has shot past 40 weeks:

This isn’t just lost income.  It’s skills and connects that have gone stale, knowledge of their own market that has become outdated, and declining confidence that things will get better anytime soon.

The long-term unemployment is mostly among men, and mostly among less-educated, and those two classes increasingly overlap.  Keep this sort of thing going long enough – and it doesn’t take too terribly long to become self-reinforcing – and we’re liable to have a lot of cities looking like last week’s London sometime before 2020.

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