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Colorado unemployment rate edges up to 7.4 percent

DENVER — Colorado’s unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage point in January to 7.4 percent, the state Department of Labor and Employment said Wednesday.

That compares with 6.7 percent a year ago.

The number of Coloradans with jobs declined by 4,700 in January to about 2.5 million. The number who looked for a job but couldn’t find one rose by 3,800, to about 196,000.

Donald Mares, director of the Department of Labor and Employment, said he expects Colorado’s unemployment rate to improve this year.

“While the unemployment rate may be volatile throughout 2010 as Coloradans re-enter the labor force, we expect to see the job market strengthen,” he said.

Employment increased in four sectors: trade, transportation and utilities; leisure and hospitality; financial activities; and manufacturing.

Employment declined in education and health services, construction, professional and business services, and government.

The national unemployment rate was 9.7 percent in January, down 0.3 percentage point from December.