DENVER (KDVR) — Less than one-fifth of Colorado’s workers could be considered “blue-collar,” according to recently released government data.
The U.S. Census Bureau released new county-level data for employment in 2021. The data includes the number of businesses of each subcategory in each county and the number of people employed in each.
Blue-collar work is decidedly a minority of Colorado’s employment.
Nearly half the people in Colorado (47%) are employed in just five industries: health care and social assistance (14%); retail; administrative and support and waste management (12%); accommodation and food services (11%); and professional, scientific and technical services (10%).
By contrast, only 17% of the state’s workers are employed in what could be called blue-collar industries – construction (7%), manufacturing (5%), transportation and warehousing (4%), and mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction (1%).
In the Front Range counties that hold most of the state’s population, blue-collar work is about as represented as in the rest of the state.
Along the Front Range, half of all employment is in only four industries: accommodation and food services (16%); health care and social assistance (13%), retail (11%); and professional, scientific and technical services (10%).
Blue-collar industries make up 17% of employment.
Blue-collar industries are a much greater share of countywide employment in certain counties. In Weld County, those industries account for 40% of jobs. Elbert County (39%) and Adams County (34%) have the next highest shares.
On the opposite end, blue-collar industries account for only 7% of employment in Boulder County, 12% in Arapahoe County and 14% in Jefferson County.