Colorado job numbers turning around at last

Colorado’s jobs news today is pretty good news. Over the past three years the data has nearly flipped, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. New numbers released today show employment climbed in all of the state’s nine large counties in 2010 and five of those counties reported employment growth that exceeded the national average by 0.9 percent.┬áCompare that to data from 2009, which showed employment declines greater than the national average by 4.1 percent in all of those same counties. Weld County experienced the largest drop in jobs in the state in 2009 and clawed back with the largest gains last year.

“This job growth in your state reflects job growth in large counties around the nation,” Bureau economist Linda Nickisch told the Colorado Independent. Large counties are those with employment above 75,000 as measured by the 2009 annual average.

Job loss hit almost all the large counties in the nation in 2009. The Bureau reported 325 of the 334 large counties suffered lost jobs. Last year employment increased in 220 of the 326 large counties.

Colorado added 64,111 private-sector jobs and 2,519 public-sector jobs.

Combing through the Weld County numbers, Nickisch said initial gains were certainly due in part to the federal government employing census workers. Federal employees in Weld jumped from 666 in January to 970 in July. (You can parse the data here.)

Indeed, federal, state and local government jobs substantially boosted the Weld economy last year. The county gained 6,987 public-sector jobs from January to December compared to 3,457 private-sector jobs. That’s the census workers as well as public sector servants such as firefighters, schoolteachers and policemen and -women.

Labor market analysts this week warned that government spending cuts will increasingly impact the economy in the months ahead. The Labor Department announced that the economy lost 39,000 public sector jobs since January as stimulus funding dried up and as states cut services.

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