Mesa County payroll estimates could be revised downward

Estimated payroll gains for Mesa County earlier this year could be revised downward a bit based on the latest analysis of labor records.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reported that estimated nonfarm payrolls for the first quarter could be revised downward in Mesa County and other areas of the state.

While estimates could increase for some areas and industry sectors, the department expects the statewide total for nonfarm payrolls to be revised downward.

Those findings are included in an analysis prepared by the CDLE based on a first quarter census of employment and wages. Employers file quarterly unemployment insurance reports with the department that include a count of workers.

The CDLE bases its monthly labor estimates on the results of surveys of businesses and households. Those estimates are subsequently adjusted based on the actual counts in quarterly unemployment reports that cover 98 percent of nonfarm payroll jobs and 88 percent of total employment in Colorado.

According to initial CDLE estimates for Mesa County based on survey results, payrolls decreased 896 in January and increased 1,367 in February and 163 in March. That resulted in a net gain of 634 for the first quarter.

According to the CDLE analysis, though, payroll employment could be revised downward in Mesa County four-tenths of a percent in January, eight-tenths of a percent in February and six-tenths of a percent in March. The difference totals about 172 fewer jobs.

Based on information for the first quarter, Mesa County payrolls also could be revised downward six-tenths of a percent for April, May, June and July. The CDLE initially estimated a net gain of 852 jobs over that four-month span. A six-tenths of a percent decrease would amount to 51 jobs.

For July, the latest month for which estimates are available, Mesa County payrolls increased 415 to 68,482. Payrolls have grown 460, or about seven-tenths of a percent, over the past year.

The overall labor force, which includes the employed and those counted as unsuccessfully looking for work, has increased 692, but at 72,845 remains well below a peak force of about 84,000 in November 2009.

The monthly seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Mesa County fell six-tenths of a point to 6 percent in July in part of what’s typically a downward trend in the jobless rate that continues through the end of the year.

Mesa County is among four areas in Colorado where payroll estimates could be revised downward for the first quarter. Payroll estimates are expected to decrease 2,800 in Greeley and 1,200 in Denver. Payrolls also could decline in Pueblo County.

Downward revisions also are expected for several industry sectors with a decrease of 11,500 jobs in the leisure and hospitality, 3,600 jobs in construction, 1,800 jobs in mining and logging and 1,300 in manufacturing. Payroll estimates also could decline in the professional and business services and information sectors.

Meanwhile, though, first quarter payroll estimates  are expected to increase 2,500 in Boulder and 1,100 in Colorado Springs. The estimate for the Fort Collins area also could increase.

The estimate for government payrolls  is expected to increase 2,500, while payrolls in the trade, transportation and utilities sector should grow 3,100. Increases also could occur in the education and health services and financial activities sectors.

Statewide, the CDLE expects to revise downward payroll estimates by a half a percent for March, three-tenths of a percent for February and two-tenths of a percent for January. That would bring the reduction for the first quarter to a total of 24,300 jobs.

Applying those results through July, nonfarm payrolls in Colorado would top 2.6 million with a year-over-year gain of 61,500 jobs.

The Business Times has served as the definitive source for Grand Junction business news since 1994. The journal offers news, views and advice you can use twice each month in print with daily updates online at www.TheBusinessTimes.com
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