Routt unemployment rises in November

County's rate increases to 6.6% from 6.3% in October, according to new figures


— Unemployment increased in Routt County from October to November, from 6.3 percent to 6.6 percent, according to figures released today by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Routt County unemployment was 4.3 percent in November 2008.

The county still lags the statewide unemployment rate, reported at 6.9 percent for November. That’s a decrease from 7 percent in October. The state figures are adjusted for normal seasonal changes, however, and the Routt County figures are not.

According to a news release from the state department, local unemployment typically increases in November.

“This year was no exception as the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) rose in 52 of Colorado’s 64 counties, fell in 7 and remained unchanged in 5. The lowest rate was 2.8 percent in Cheyenne County and the highest was 14.4 percent in Dolores County,” the release stated.

Routt County’s numbers represent a labor force of 14,687 in November. Of those people, 13,722 were employed, and 965 were not. That’s an increase in the labor force from October, when 14,499 people were in the labor pool in Routt County. But it’s also an increase in the number of people unemployed. In October, 908 were without jobs.

In Moffat County, unemployment increased to 5.7 percent in November from 5.4 percent in October.

According to the state news release, employment increased in education and health services from November 2008 to November 2009.

“Construction experienced the most severe losses, down 21,900, while trade, transportation and utilities and professional and business services are down 17,300 and 16,200, respectively,” according to the release. “Payrolls in manufacturing declined 13,300 and are down 6,400 in mining and logging. Other losses are: leisure and hospitality (9,600), financial activities (8,300), information (4,300), and other services (3,700).”

National unemployment was 10 percent in November, according to the state Labor Department release.


Scott Wedel 7 years, 4 months ago

The big local number is nearly a 10% decline in the work force (down 1,100) and about 10% (1,400) fewer jobs from last year.

Either 1,100 workers and families left the area or there are a whole lot of discouraged workers that have given up looking for jobs.

To say the local unemployment rate is 4.3% completely misses the real local employment story. We have a 10% decline in the number of jobs from last year!!! Which adjusts a 4% unemployment rate to locals workers having a 14% unemployed+given up looking rate. That is SEVERE.


Scott Wedel 7 years, 4 months ago

And note that there were actually 100 more jobs in Nov than Oct, but the unemployment rate went up because 180 more people were considered to be in the job force. Ie either they got jobs or they had hopes of getting a job and started looking again.


Scott Ford 7 years, 4 months ago

Hi Scott W. The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of households conducted by the Bureau of Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It provides a comprehensive body of data on the: labor force, employment, unemployment and persons not in the labor force. According to Brian at the Colorado Workforce Center that serves Routt County, Routt County is not included in the CPS. I believe that the CPS may only be done in SMAs (Statistical Metropolitan Areas) Routt at 24,000 +/- is way below the radar.

The unemployment calculation for Routt County is really basic. It is the number of active unemployment claims in the county divided by the civilian workforce age 16 - 64. That is the unemployment rate. (The civilian workforce is calculated each year based on the IRS data linked to social security numbers. (Scott the IRS knows old you are.) Some mathematical formula is used to adjust this number based on the ES202 data factoring in unique SSN's. The number of jobs reported is based on form ES202 employers use to report jobs and payroll for the calculation of the unemployment insurance tax.

Like all data sets, there are strengths and weaknesses. One of the weaknesses of the ES202 data is that it reports only jobs for which wages/salary are paid. Self-employment is not reported. It also is based on the location of the employer not the employee's residency. For example, a person working for TIC in Steamboat Springs that lives in Moffat County is counted in the Routt County number of jobs; however, the bulk of their economic impact is in Moffat. In addition, if a person is working more than one job each is counted.

So what is the true unemployment number? Good question. But because of the data sources I think it would be safe to assume that the unemployment rate itself for Routt County which has a high percentage of sole proprietors and single member LLC's that pay no unemployment insurance and individuals working more than one job because of necessity or choice - the unemployment rate is likely overstated. How is the overstatement? Who knows!

The unemployment rate gets a lot of attention because it is one of the few local "economic" statistics that is updated monthly. I am not sure that the data makes us behave any differently - but like sales tax, it is monthly data, which makes it interesting. I would caution folks from being too spun up over the data. Because we are dealing with relatively small numbers - changes are magnified from month to month, however, micro trends are difficult to tease out.

You have some great insights to the local economy, what data do you think we should be paying close attention to?


housepoor 7 years, 4 months ago

Population data is what we should paying close attention to. Seamboat is not a place where you survive on unemployment for very long. Unless you were born here and have that type of support system you lose your job, you leave. The timing of the 2010 census is unfortunate as so many fed $$ are tied to it. While some of our growth was people wanting to live in Steamboat there was a portion of that growth that was attributed to this is where the work was and the high pay scale. Another local concern is a lot of working class families have historically suplemented their income through rental income and the bottom has dropped out that market faster then real estate prices.


Scott Wedel 7 years, 4 months ago

ScottFord, I think that by far the most relevant number for Routt County employment statistics is the total number employed. That is an accurate number. And it is pretty consistently down 700 or so jobs (5%) for each month in 2009 from 2008.

The idea that this area has 6% unemployment which is considered close to full employment (4%) is utterly ridiculous. There is a world of hurt in the lower paying service jobs and construction jobs.

I think a pretty accurate indicator of the local economy in an area with a small population base is to look at the newspaper classified and compare the number of jobs wanted ads vs apartments and houses for rent. Couple years ago there were 200 jobs wanted listings and 34 places to rent. Now the ratio is close to the opposite if you count that some ads are for complexes that have multiple places for rent. We did back to school and now start of ski season with plentiful rental housing which I think has not happened for at least 30 years.


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