This article will state both Colorado and US statistics regarding the economy and the connected unemployment factor, which indicate that we are in a worse condition than in decades, but it concludes that economists see a positive outcome on the horizon.
- Unemployment & Labor Department News
- Colorado Job News and Unemployment – Phase 2
- Decline of Women in the Job Market
- Federal Economy News
- Work-from-Home Changes
- Training Resources for Coloradans
- Whose Hiring in Colorado
For individuals, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (Commerce Department) said that in January personal income went up 10 percent. That may not seem like a lot. But look at October and November which were below zero, and December (our Holiday shopping month) which was only up approximately two-thirds of a percent.
The down side is that newly released jobless claims, which gauge how many Americans are out of work and how our economy is doing, showed 730,000 folks filing for first-time unemployment benefits, which is higher than expected. Coronavirus has changed the job market, with some companies downsizing, others relying on remote workers.
Unemployment & Labor Department News – Jobs Gaining
In January, 270,000 were unemployed. It amounted to $64 billion in lost wages. Economist say that it will leave a scar on the economy for a generation. Almost one million lost their jobs because it was cut or they left it, with 2.3 million jobless in America since March 2020.
As of February 7 to 12, there were 861,000 new claims filed in the nation, with 18.3 million collecting benefits. It is the most amount ever. Before the pandemic, the weekly applications had never gone above 700,000. The following week, it increased to 19 million.
Let’s look at Colorado statistics:
For three weeks in February, the number of people filing unemployment claims were: February 7 = 14,018; February 14 = 13,151, and February 25 = 14.977. A steady number, despite more businesses getting the Code Yellow and Blue approvals to start reopening in larger numbers. Since mid-March 2020, an estimated total of 832,982 regular initial unemployment claims have been filed.
But, looking again at the national figure, take into consideration, jobless claims declined by 111,000 from that previous week to a seasonally adjusted 730,000, according to the Labor Department. It is the lowest figure since late November 2020, and the sharpest one-week decline since August. The other good news is that it means that it is a sign that layoffs may have eased.
Nancy Vanden Houten, lead economist at Oxford Economics, stated cautiously, “the data continue to suffer from noise related to issues of backlogs and fraud. We expect a more sustainable labor market recovery to take hold closer to mid-year with broader vaccine distribution and the arrival of more fiscal support.”
Americans received their $600 stimulus checks in January, which resulted in retail sales booming. Factory output also rose, and appears to be nearly regaining its pre-pandemic levels. Folks need to remember that they are called stimulus checks, not savings deposit checks, and they should put it back into the economy when they get their $1,400 check this spring.
Both existing and newly-built homes sales also soared last month. This is helped by the Federal Reserve promising in Congress last week that it will keep its rate near zero.
Michelle Meyer, an economist at Bank of America, on Monday upgraded her forecast for growth this year to 6.5percent, which would be the fastest since 1984.
In late February, Michelle Meyer, economist at Bank of America, upgraded her forecast for growth this year to 6.5 percent, which would be the fastest since 1984. Other Reserve managers, portfolio and bank managers, have pointed toward the increased movement in vaccine manufacturing and distribution this year to a more positive and swift recovery.
Also, in February, the United States added 379,000 jobs, according to data released March 4 by the Labor Department—far surpassing the 198,000 new jobs predicted. Almost all were in the travel and hospitality industry.
Colorado Unemployment & Phase 2
Phase 2 is for those whose benefits ran out in December.
The money approved by the federal government to extend unemployment benefits reached Colorado in February. The state spent January updating its antiquated system. It received thousands of phone calls about web site problems and for holds on accounts due to suspicion of fraud. On February 20, Saturday, it opened the web pages up to applicates. As of Monday February 22, the state had paid $206 million to 130,000 claimants.
Latinos lost more jobs than any other ethic group in Colorado. Those earning $27,000 or less are in the 20 percent unemployment bracket.
The passage of the new Stimulus Package will give unemployed $300, extending benefits through the end of August.
FRAUD CASES: A stronger mechanism has been put in place to reduce fraud, including an extra step that applicants will have to take. Colorado is one of the lower fraud incident states in the US. A Task Force is being formed to study the fraud cases. It appears that the main problem is stolen identities. In 2019, Colorado had 900 fraud cases. This past year it has had 800,000 suspected fraud cases. It stopped paying benefits of $7.5 billion. It paid out $6.5 million, with almost one million returned. It is far below what most other states have experienced.
Federal Economy News
According to Janet Yellen, US Treasury Secretary, the job market in January was stalling with only 49,000 jobs created; 10 million unemployed; four million dropped out of the labor market; and two million working part time who would like to work full time. The labor market has now lost more than three decades of labor force gains in less than a year. Other economist forecast that with the success of the vaccine distribution, that 6.6 million jobs could be regained by the end of this year, though that would still leave the U.S. economy several million short of its pre-pandemic level.
Yellen also said the $350 billion in direct aid to state and local governments included in the Democratic proposal will ensure public-sector workers can keep their jobs.
The $1.9 billion Stimulus Package has passed the House and the Senate in March.
74% of ALL Voters approve of this
The Bill passed the House, then a dozen changes were made, then passed 49 to 50 in the Senate, and passed in the House a 2nd time.
==President Biden has agreed to all changes negotiated.
· $1,400 stimulus checks for eligible individuals = for those earning $75,000 or less; the cap was changed from $100,000 to $80,000 with those getting reduced checks, and those earning $75,000 below getting the full amount.
· $400 weekly unemployment benefit through September = changed to $300 thru end of August
· $3,000 per child tax credit
· $70B to increase vaccine & testing capabilities
· $30B for rental assistance; eviction moratorium & forbearance through September
· $440B for small businesses & communities/cities (covid related)
COLORADO will receive $6 billion in direct aid.
1.2 billion to schools to reopen safely
495 million to colleges and universities and student emergency grants
466 million for child care
The next “CCC” bill that Congress will work on addresses new job development, through infrastructure building, and job training in climate control. The Plan also addresses child tax credits because families were disproportionately burden during the crisis. It includes funding for a new “21st Century” Civilian Conservation Corp, which would mainly train people in outdoor jobs, and work on forest fire prevention.
U.S. productivity fell at an annual rate of 4.2% in the fourth quarter, a sharp decline but not as large as first estimated. That revised figure released by the Labor Department March 3 was slightly smaller than the 4.7% decline estimated a month ago. Labor costs rose at a 6%.
The Federal Reserve caused a mild drop in the stock market on March 4 when Chair Jerome Powell predicted that, because of the strong impact of the increased vaccinations, he saw a strong job growth this summer, but said he also saw an increase in consumer prices. Investors fear that will force interest rates up sooner than expected. But he thought it was an overreaction and it won’t be enough for the Feds to alter its low-interest rate policies. He also stated that both labor market and inflation targets remain well away from the central bank’s preferred targets.
COLORADO, good news: Those who did lockdowns early in their state suffered economically but not in deaths and public health. Colorado has one of the lowest death rates; lower than 41 other states, per capital. The state ranks #48 in consumer spending since COVID was declared. Only Alaska and Delaware are lower.
Decline of Women in the Job Market
There have been many reports on the fact that women were the hardest hit in the past year. Large numbers left the work force to face the growing needs for day care and schooling of children. They are making the hard decision to downshift their careers. Millions have dropped out permanently.
In January, another 275,000 women dropped out of the labor force, accounting for nearly 80 percent of all workers over the age 20 who left the workforce that month (National Women’s Law Center analysis). That brings the total of February 2020 to February 2021, to 2.3 million, with men leaving the work force at nearly 1.8 million. Remember, to be counted as unemployed, you have to be looking for work. There are 5.3 million women who lost their jobs over that year-period.
The Biden Plan places emphasis on getting schools open, and providing paid family leave. This would particularly help women return to the job market, both because they are essential to the US and to their own personal economy, and to help bring them back on track to develop their career goals.
In a statement released by the White House March 7, President Biden said the world is seeing “decades of women’s economic gains erased by this pandemic. These global trends damage all of us, because we know that governments, economies, and communities are stronger when they include the full participation of women – no country can recover from this pandemic if it leaves half of its population behind.”
Working From Home
The trend toward working from home was gaining momentum in the past decade, but the pandemic pushed it into high gear. It has been reported that as much as 56 percent of business owners are looking at making the home office assignments permanent. As of March, 31 percent of those 18 and over are working from home; 16 percent say they will continue. This has a domino effect, such as: Fewer cars on the road effecting pollution and car sales. Office buildings facing steeping declining rentals. In the last quarter there was a 19 percent vacancy rate in office space; that is approximately one in five offices are empty. Those with the least experience need to be around those who can train them, and answer their questions.
Executives are encouraging changes, but the vast majority seem to not want to eliminate offices. Many employers will probably start with a hybrid workplace where a large number of office employees rotate in and out of offices configured for shared spaces. But the hardest part will be the loss of social interaction, and the spark of ideas caused through interaction of employees. And, lastly, studies have shown that well-managed businesses have solid production from home-workers, dispelling the skeptics.
Helping Coloradans with Reemployment Support:
Trainings and Resources for Job Seekers
CDLE and its partners hold regular, no-cost training that can help unemployed Coloradans get rehired. A sampling of events is below and a complete list of events, workshops and training opportunities is available on the CDLE website.
Trainings and Resources for Job Seekers
February 26, 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm: Phone Interviews
March 1, 11:00 am – 11:30 am: Denver Workforce Services: “Now Hiring!” series
March 2, 2 pm – 3 pm: Job Seeker Webinar — Northwest
March 3, 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm: How to Network
March 4, 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm: Resumes Part 1
March 5, 11 am – 12 pm: HOPE: Helping Offenders Pursue Employment (in person):
918 10th St, Greeley, CO 80631
These workshops may have already passed when you read this, but they are repeated monthly.
There are more than 81,000 jobs available in ConnectingColorado.com, the state’s jobs database.
Total number of open jobs (2/24/21): 81,998
Job titles posted most often (2/18/21):
CDL-A truck drivers (2,979)
Customer service representatives (820)
Registered nurses (749)
While many industries are hiring, the top three were (2/18/21):
Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services (24,864)
Professional, scientific, and technical services (17,659)
Retail trade (15,333)
DISCLAIMER: Please note that the Lyons Recorder attempts to find the most current and accurate statistics it can, mainly obtaining information from credible news sources, and government web sites. But we find figures can differ, so we encourage you to do your own research to suit your needs.