DENVER (KDVR) — The unemployment rate dropped below 5% in December 2021 which is the first time it has dipped that low since March 2020, Gov. Jared Polis and the Department of Labor and Employment said.

“I’m excited that the lowest unemployment rate since the pandemic began and positive job growth sends a clear message that Colorado continues to be the best place to live, work and grow a business and Coloradans are moving forward. Our administration is on a mission to save people money, grow an even stronger workforce, make historic investments in services to connect workers with good-paying jobs so we can all thrive,” Polis said.

At its height, the unemployment rate was 12.1% in April 2020 and has steadily declined in the last seven months. The latest rate of 4.8% is only .1% higher than it was in March 2020.

Approximately 9,000 nonfarm payroll jobs have been added to Colorado’s workforce in the last four months contributing to the decrease in unemployment. The number of unemployed Coloradans dropped by 9,500, to 154,300 in December 2021.

Graph from Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

The U.S. job recovery rate last year was 4.1% compared to the state’s rate of job growth at 4.4%.

According to the CDLE, counties with the highest rate of unemployment in December 2021 were:

  • Pueblo (6.4%)
  • Huerfano (6.3%)
  • Las Animas (5.5%)
  • Fremont (5.5%)
  • Rio Grande (5.2%)

Employment of Coloradans increased by 18,000 in December to 3,054,100, which is 65% of the state’s 16 years and older population. The state’s employed-to-population ratio has been on the up and up in the last four months.