State of Colorado Job Outlook is by the recent information release looking better. At least on paper. The phrase attributed to Mark Twain, Figures don’t lie, but liars figure, comes to mind here.
Colorado loses 2,400 payroll jobs, but unemployment eases to 7.6%: “Colorado’s unemployment rate notched down a 10th of a point in December, to 7.6 percent, despite a loss of 2,400 payroll jobs from the previous month, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reported Friday.
The two statistics are based on two different surveys that include somewhat different employment categories, so they sometimes contradict one another.
The 2,400 decline in non-farm payroll jobs in December left the state with 2,316,600 jobs, CDLE said. Over the last year, Colorado has…
What is notable is the number are taken from two different surveys, contradictory in their findings. So what to do. The source and the information that nearly everyone gets all worked up about are the monthly unemployment figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). According to the BLS,
The official concept of unemployment (as measured in the Current Population Survey (CPS) by U-3 in the U-1 to U-6 range of alternatives) includes all jobless persons who are available to take a job and have actively sought work in the past four weeks.
Now let’s review and define the “U” number designations.
U-1, persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force;
U-2, job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force;
U-3, total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (this is the definition used for the official unemployment rate);
U-4, total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers;
U-5, total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other marginally attached workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers; and
U-6, total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.
Discouraged workers (U-4, U-5, and U-6 measures) are persons who are not in the labor force, want and are available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They are not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the prior 4 weeks, for the specific reason that they believed no jobs were available for them.
So even within the BLS report, there are a glaring number of unemployed that aren’t being reported. For Colorado and the other 49 states, you can find the most recent numbers of Alternative measures of labor underutilization by state, fourth quarter of 2011 through third quarter of 2012 averages.
What is interesting to note is the U-6 number for Colorado, 15.0%, which is a much more telling indication of the current economy and jobs outlook for our state.