Routt jobless rate increases in January | SteamboatToday.com

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Routt jobless rate increases in January

Unemployment was 8.6 percent, up from 7.9 percent in December

Big House Burgers and Bottlecap Bar cook Rodrigo Rodriguez fills an order Thursday afternoon at the local restaurant.

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Contact the Colorado Workforce Center for information about jobs and unemployment benefits. Call 970-879-3075, go to http://www.yourworkforce… or visit the center at 425 Anglers Drive.

— The unemployment rate in Routt County increased from 7.9 percent in December to 8.6 percent in January. The figures, released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, show an increase from 1,183 people unemployed in December to 1,321 unemployed in January.

The numbers haven't yet been adjusted for typical seasonal changes.

Brian Bradbury, employment specialist at the Colorado Workforce Center's branch in Steamboat Springs, said it's not uncommon to see an increase in unemployment in January.

"A lot of times we had people come in where the businesses were laying them off for a short time in January, and they would pick them up again when the season got a little stronger," Bradbury said.

January's unemployment figure also is an increase from the 8.2 percent rate in January 2010. In December, 13,867 people were employed out of a work force of 15,050. In January 2011, 13,954 people were employed out of a labor force of 15,275.

In January 2010, 14,123 people had jobs in Routt County.

More striking, Bradbury said, is that Moffat County's unemployment rate increased nearly 2 percent, from 9.2 percent in December to 11 percent in January. Bradbury said he contacted the Workforce Center in Moffat and was told that the increase was a result of individuals losing their jobs rather than large layoffs at any one employer.

Statewide, Colorado's unemployment rate also increased, from 8.9 percent in December to 9.1 percent in January. The state's rate has been adjusted for typical seasonal changes. That rate is a record for Colorado, according to The Denver Post. Before December, the highest statewide rate was 8.8 percent in January 1983.

Colorado and Routt County are experiencing trends counter to what is occurring nationally. U.S. unemployment decreased from 9.4 percent to 9 percent from December to January, according to a release from the state labor department.

In Colorado, the largest December to January gains came in professional and business services; education and health services; and trade, transportation and utilities. The largest decreases in jobs came in leisure and hospitality, construction and information. Bradbury said part of Routt's job decrease could be attributed to the leisure and hospitality industry.

As the ski season winds down, the Workforce Center is seeing more people being laid off earlier than is typical, Bradbury said.

"Some of the more resort-oriented businesses, people are coming in where they're getting their hours reduced or layoffs," he said.

The center also is continuing to see a consistent flow of new jobless claims, Bradbury said. The agency has only about 12 jobs on its list of open positions, he said. But there is some positive news for those whose unemployment benefits have run out.

"The federal government has added that tier four for emergency compensation, which is another six weeks," Bradbury said. "If there's anyone out there that has filed and has run out of benefits and hasn't contacted us in the last month or two months, they should contact us."