There seemed to be much breathless excitement over the new employment numbers today. Colorado gains 3,000 jobs screamed headlines. It’s all well and good until one reads beyond the headline.
But, looking at the broader economic trend here makes this report a real bummer. As it turns out, those 3,000 jobs were all government hiring. From the Denver Business Journal report:
“But the Colorado job gain was driven by increased government hiring, with public sector payroll jobs increasing by a net 3,300 last month and private sector positions declining by 300, CDLE, monthly report said.”
Let’s be honest, a government job, for someone out of work, is still a job. But, in terms of genuine economic growth, this ain’t it. And here’s more bad news, it’s not just that the hiring that happened was all in the public sector, it’s also that the labor force shrunk:
“And while the drop in the state’s unemployment level brought that closely followed measurement to its lowest point since October 2008, the decline was partly driven by a 1,600 decrease in the state’s labor force (defined as working people plus unemployed people actively seeking work).”
Colorado has one of the most highly-educated, innovative work forces in the entire country. There’s no reason our economy shouldn’t be on fire.
House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso weighed in how shameful for the Colorado economy to be in this shape at this point:
“Losing 300 private sector jobs and having 1,600 people leave the labor force shows our economy is still on shaky ground. I am encouraged to see more Coloradans going back to work, but increasing government jobs is not a long-term solution to improving Colorado’s economy. We must create an environment that will foster sustained private sector job growth and the growth of our labor force if we want the economy Coloradans deserve.”
Gov. John Hickenlooper thought it was a better use of his time this week to pretend to be a
rock bluegrass star than focus on helping Colorado’s private sector. Hick, no one blames you for wanting to do cool things, but being Colorado’s Governor means you sometimes have to sacrifice hanging out with your friends (and having a beer, right?) to do the dirty work to make sure Colorado stays great.