The good news, according to Colorado's employment situation report for December, is that unemployment in the state continues to decline. The bad news from the report that was released this week is that the number of private sector jobs declined in December as well. Here are the details.
* According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment report, the unemployment rate decreased by one-tenth of a percent in December for a monthly tally of 7.6 percent. This rate decrease is caused by a larger increase in the number of people reporting that they are employed than the number actively participating in the work force, the department explained.
* Private sector payroll jobs decreased over the month by 2,500 while government jobs increased by 100, making the total statewide number of nonfarm payroll jobs 2,316,600. This number was attained from surveys of business establishments.
* The largest private sector job losses in December came in the sectors of professional and business services, trade, transportation and utilities and education and health services.
* That said, the top occupation in the state, as determined by online help wanted ads, continues to be that of the registered nurse. The two top employers, according to the number of job ads placed, are Centura Health and Health One.
* The largest over the month private sector job gain was in construction, the Department of Labor and Employment reported.
* 2012 saw a nonfarm payroll job increase of 51,300, with the bulk of those jobs -- 47,600 -- coming within the private sector, with the largest gains in professional and business services, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality.
* The number of Coloradans participating in the work force decreased by 8,100 through 2012, the department reported, total unemployment decreased by 1,200 and the number of unemployed decreased by 6,900. The unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in December 2011.
* The wages that employees in Colorado earned increased over the year from an hourly average of $24.20 to $25.26, the department stated, while the average workweek also increased, from 34.6 to 35.5 hours.
* According to a January report from the University of Colorado's Leeds School of Business, business leaders, while remaining optimistic overall about the economic environment of the state, were less positive about industry hiring plans.
* About 8 percent of respondents to the school's study expect a strong statewide decrease in hiring and nearly half of the panelists are neutral on hiring, Leeds reported, in spite of 26 months worth of year-over-year employment increases.