Index: Economy / Subcategory: Business

Unemployment Rate

Date updated: 04/23/2013

Chart Directory:

United States, Colorado & Fort Collins-Loveland MSA

The unemployment rate represents the number of unemployed persons as a percentage of the total labor force. The Department of Labor defines the unemployed as: People who were not employed during the reference week and were available for work (excluding temporary illness) and had made specific efforts to find employment during the 4-week period ending with the reference week. People waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off are not required to have been job searching to be classified as unemployed. Because the unemployment rate is calculated in this way, it is subject to fluctuations due to factors such as persons dropping out of the workforce to raise children, to attend school, or for various other reasons not directly related to the availability of jobs. These limitations should be kept in mind when reviewing unemployment figures. For more information about unemployment data, see the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Estimation Methodology.

Monthly national and Colorado unemployment data are reported as seasonally adjusted rates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). All annual unemployment rates and the Fort Collins/Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) monthly unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. According to the BLS, seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique which eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series. By eliminating seasonal fluctuations, it becomes easier to compare data from month to month. For a more complete description of seasonal adjustment and the methodology used to estimate seasonal adjustment factors, see Seasonal Adjustment - BLS.

The Colorado Department of Labor & Employment's website contains information about how to apply for unemployment benefits.

What this chart shows: Monthly Unemployment Rate for the United States*, Colorado*, & Fort Collins/Loveland MSA, July 2011 to December 2012

*Seasonally adjusted

Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

See data table

What the above data tell us:

The Fort Collins/Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)** had lower unemployment rates than both Colorado and the United States from July 2011 to December 2012, dropping nearly 1 percentage point over the 18 months shown.

Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and used by the U.S. Census Bureau and other U.S. governmental agencies for statistical purposes only. An MSA is a geographical region with a relatively high population density at its core and close economic ties throughout the area.

**The 'Fort Collins/Loveland MSA' is often used to represent statistical data for Larimer County.

What this chart shows: Annual Unemployment Rate for the United States, Colorado, and the Fort Collins/Loveland MSA*, 2003 - 2012

*The 'Fort Collins/Loveland MSA' is often used to represent statistical data for Larimer County.

Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

See data table

What the above data tell us:

The Fort Collins/Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) unemployment rates were consistently lower than unemployment rates for the United States and Colorado between 2003 and 2012. The nation's unemployment rate increased 4.5 percentage points between 2007 (4.6%) and 2010 (9.6%). Although the national unemployment rate was higher, Colorado's unemployment rate increased 5.2 percentage points (3.8% and 9.0%, respectively) and the rate in the Fort Collins/Loveland MSA increased 4.0 percentage points between 2007 (3.4%) and 2010 (7.4%).

Unemployment rates should be interpreted cautiously, due to the manner in which they are calculated. Some unemployed persons are not included in the official count. An alternative unemployment measure (Bureau of Labor Statistics) that includes marginally attached workers is about 1% higher than the official unemployment rate.

For further information about alternative unemployment measures, see the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Monthly Labor Review [pdf].

Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and used by the U.S. Census Bureau and other U.S. governmental agencies for statistical purposes only. An MSA is a geographical region with a relatively high population density at its core and close economic ties throughout the area.

Additional Information:

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment Insurance benefits are based on the wages paid to an individual during a prescribed base period and are available for up to 26 weeks, unless altered by Congress. To receive these benefits, an individual must meet eligibility requirements.

Alternative unemployment rates are unemployment measures that focus on different types of joblessness and incorporate different measures of labor resource underutilization:

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 persons, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate)

U-4 Total unemployed persons plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers

U-5 Total unemployed persons plus discouraged workers, plus all other 'marginally-attached' workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all other 'marginally-attached' workers

U-6 Total unemployed persons plus all other 'marginally attached' workers, plus all persons employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all other 'marginally-attached' workers

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Types of unemployed persons:

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Related Information on COMPASS -

Other Resources -

Industry Standards or Targets:

N/A

Data Tables:

Monthly Unemployment Rate

United States*

Colorado*

Fort Collins/ Loveland MSA

2011 July

9.0 8.6 6.8

Aug

9.0 8.6 6.5

Sep

9.0 8.6 6.3

Oct

8.9 8.5 6.2

Nov

8.6 8.4 6.1

Dec

8.5 8.3 6.1

2012 Jan

8.3 8.3 6.9

Feb

8.3 8.2 6.8

March

8.2 8.2 6.7

April

8.1 8.2 6.3

May

8.2 8.2 6.4

June

8.2 8.2 6.7

July

8.2 8.1 6.7

Aug

8.1 8.0 6.2

Sep

7.8 7.9 5.8

Oct

7.9 7.7 5.9

Nov

7.8 7.6 5.9

Dec

7.8 7.5 5.9

*Seasonally adjusted

See chart

Annual Unemployment Rates

Year

United States

Colorado

Fort Collins/ Loveland MSA

2003

6.0

6.1

5.1

2004

5.5

5.6

4.7

2005

5.1

5.1

4.5

2006

4.6

4.3

3.9

2007

4.6

3.8

3.4

2008

5.8

4.8

4.2

2009

9.3

8.3

7.0

2010

9.6

9.0

7.4

2011

8.9

8.6

6.8

2012

8.1

8.0

6.4*

*preliminary data

See chart