DENVER, CO – The latest national unemployment and employment figures show a labor market nearing normal, but the country still has a record number of vacancies.

The Denver area’s unemployment rate has largely improved since the pandemic began, and there was some improvement from March to April, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Denver unemployment rate was 7 percent in April, up from 7.1 percent in March. This reflected a significant improvement over April 2020 when the unemployment rate was 13.4 percent.

Denver’s April unemployment rate was higher than Colorado’s 6.3 percent, according to the latest local BLS figures.

The United States created 559,000 non-farm jobs in May and the unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 5.8 percent.

According to the BLS, the weekly initial jobless claims fell to their lowest level since March 14, 2020 at the end of May. There were around 385,000 seasonally adjusted initial applications, 20,000 fewer than in the previous week; it was also the fifth straight week of declines.

The country has not yet fully recovered from the pandemic. Employment on the payroll is down 5 percent from pre-pandemic levels. The number of long-term unemployed fell by 431,000 to 3.8 million in May, but this is still an increase from 2.6 million in February 2020.

At 61.6 percent, the participation rate has remained almost constant since June 2020 and around 1.7 percentage points lower than in February 2020.

The number of vacancies remains high, with a record 8.1 million vacancies across the country at the end of March – led by the hospitality and accommodation, local and government education, and arts, entertainment and recreation sectors. According to the BLS, the number of layoffs reached a record low of 1.5 million.