Routt County unemployment rate increases in May | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County unemployment rate increases in May

Blythe Terrell

— Routt County unemployment increased more than a percentage point in May, to 11.2 percent from 10.1 percent in April, according to figures released Friday by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Those numbers are not adjusted for typical seasonal changes.

The figures for May represented 11,643 people with jobs, out of a labor force of 13,106. That means 1,463 people were unemployed.

The labor force in Routt County has decreased since its peak in 2008, said Brian Bradbury, an employment specialist with the Steamboat Springs branch of the Colorado Workforce Center. In January 2008, it was 17,116. The jobless rate was 2.6 percent that month, Bradbury said.

"Anything under 3 percent is really considered full employment — that's everyone that wants to work can work," he said.

Up until the economic recession, the labor force in Routt had steadily increased. It was 10,174 in January 1995, with an unemployment rate of 3 percent. In January 2000, the work force was 13,732, with an unemployment rate of 2.4 percent.

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"It's definitely gone down, and I think that's the economy, people moving," Bradbury said.

The jobless rate has decreased year-over-year, but that doesn't necessarily indicate a better employment picture. In May 2010, the jobless rate was 12.1 percent. In that month, 11,679 people had jobs, compared with the 11,643 who had jobs this past May.

Routt's highest recorded unemployment rate was 12.7 percent in May 1992.

Moffat County's jobless rate was 8.9 percent in May, down from 9.4 percent in April.

Statewide, unemployment decreased one-tenth of a percentage point in May, to 8.7 percent. That figure is adjusted for typical seasonal changes. The largest gain in jobs was in construction and trade, transportation and utilities, according to state figures.

The Workforce Center has worked with Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus to provide training for entrepreneurs and job-seekers. There are two free workshops Tuesday for entrepreneurs, Bradbury said. A workshop on accessing capital is from 9 a.m. to noon, and a workshop on effective business plans is from 1 to 4 p.m. Both are at CMC, and those who want to sign up can call the Workforce Center at 970-879-3075.

Bradbury also said that half of a $22,000 grant still is available to help pay for renewable energy training for business owners or people who already are working in a related field. Those interested can contact him at the Workforce Center.

To reach Blythe Terrell, call 970-871-4234 or email bterrell@SteamboatToday.com

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The Colorado Workforce Center provides information about jobs, training and unemployment benefits. The Steamboat Springs branch is at 425 Anglers Drive; call 970-879-3075 or visit http://www.yourworkforcecenter.com.

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