Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

A stronger job market and economic recovery could accelerate purchasing power for real estate and demand for rental properties. A thriving business environment is good news for all of us who live here and for those who are moving here.

Colorado’s economic recovery continues evidenced by a drop in the unemployment rate falling to 3.7% in March 2022 – the lowest unemployment rate since February 2020, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) survey of households.

Boulder is leading the way with a 2.7% unemployment rate for the Boulder metropolitan statistical area (MSA) – the lowest in the state and a drop from 3.2% in February.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate declined two-tenths of a percentage point in March to 3.6%.

The Colorado labor force participation rose to 68.9% last month, the highest rate since March 2020. Colorado’s employment-to-population ratio has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels with the number of individuals employed in Colorado reaching 66.4% of the state’s 16+ population – a faster rate of recovery in the participation rate than the nation as a whole.

Here are the Colorado metropolitan statistical areas with the lowest unemployment rates in March:Jobs were added in both nonfarm payroll and the private sector. Over the past 23 months, Colorado added 389,400 nonfarm payroll jobs for a job recovery rate of 104.0 percent, which exceeds the U.S. rate of 92.8%. Colorado’s private sector saw a job recovery rate of 109.3%, outpacing the U.S. rate of 95.9%.

Significant private sector job gains in March were made in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services and manufacturing. Construction lost about 2,300 jobs over the month.

Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 4.9%, just slightly stronger than the U.S. rate of 4.5%.

And Coloradoans are working slightly fewer hours, but getting paid more per hour. Private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 33.0 to 32.9 hours, while average hourly earnings grew from $31.32 to $33.85.  The average hourly wage for the state in 2021 was $30.24, about 8% above the U.S. average of $28.01, according to the CDLE and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Boulder MSA had the highest overall average and median wages of $35.37 and $28.70, respectively.

Jobs in Colorado continue to be heavily weighted in the STEM areas — science, technology, engineering and math. Compared to the U.S., Colorado showed a higher share of employment in life, physical, and social science; architecture and engineering; computer and mathematical; business and financial operations; and construction and extraction occupations. The state had a lower share of employment in production; farming, fishing, and forestry; management; and healthcare support occupations.

Overall, as Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors® says, while low unemployment could increase the appetite for home buying and accelerate apartment rental, the rise in mortgage rates could mean demand is mixed.

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Tom Kalinski is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, email Tom at [email protected],
call 303.441.5620, or visit