Colorado's unemployment rate decreased one-tenth of a percentage point from December to January to 7.8 percent, according to a Colorado Department of Labor and Unemployment report released today.

In December 2011, it stood at 7.9 percent.

The report said that the number of people actively participating in the labor force decreased 3,900 to 2,730,000 and total employment decreased 1,900 to 2,517,000, causing the number of unemployed to decline 2,000.

The national unemployment rate declined two-tenths of one percentage point over the same period to 8.3 percent.

The department said employers in Colorado added 19,500 nonfarm jobs from December to January for a total of 2,284,800 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 22,500 and government decreased 3,000.

Over the year, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased from 34.3 to 35.0 hours and the average hourly earnings increased from $24.11 to $24.52.

The largest over-the-month private sector job gains were in construction, professional and business services and leisure and hospitality. There were no significant over-the-month declines in the private sector.

Over the year, the unemployment rate is down one percentage point from 8.8 percent in January 2011.

The national unemployment rate declined from 9.1 to 8.3 percent from January 2011 to January 2012.

Howard Pankratz: 303-954-1939 or hpankratz@denverpost.com; twitter@Howard Pankratz



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