Gondola Pub and Grill bar manager Michael Ruby pours a round for customers Friday afternoon. The local branch of the Colorado Workforce Center reported that more people are finding jobs as the ski season ramps up, though the unemployment rate in Routt County still increased from October to November.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Gondola Pub and Grill bar manager Michael Ruby pours a round for customers Friday afternoon. The local branch of the Colorado Workforce Center reported that more people are finding jobs as the ski season ramps up, though the unemployment rate in Routt County still increased from October to November.

Routt County jobless rate rises in November

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The Colorado Workforce Center’s Steamboat Springs branch is at 425 Anglers Drive. Call 970-879-3075 or visit here.

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

Routt County unemployment was 4.3 percent in November 2008. The county still lags behind the statewide unemployment rate, which was 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.

Jackie Mitchell, an employment specialist at the Steamboat Springs branch of the Colorado Workforce Center, said she was surprised by the numbers because employment appears to be picking up.

“What I think happened in November is the ski season kind of got a slow start,” she said. “So now we’re starting to see people in the last couple of weeks obtain jobs, more resort jobs.”

October and November were similar because businesses weren’t hiring for the season, Mi­t­c­­he­ll said. Many employers seemed to be waiting to see what tourist numbers would look like, she said.

“Right now, we are seeing more people obtain jobs as the holiday season starts to kick in and the planes start to land,” Mitchell said.

According to a news release from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, 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 states.

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, 13,591 of whom were employed. But it’s also an increase in the number of people unemployed. In October, 908 were without jobs.

In November 2008, 15,117 people were employed. Of a Routt County labor force of 15,788, 671 were unemployed that month.

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

National, state statistics

National unemployment was 10 percent in November, according to the state labor depart­m­e­nt release.

From October to November in Colorado, employment increased in trade, transportation and utilities, the release states.

Jobs also increased in education and health services, as well as mining and logging.

“Construction continued to decline with losses of 2,800 jobs, leisure and hospitality declined 1,700 and professional and business services lost 1,000,” according to the release. “Manufacturing lo­st 500 jobs and there was little to no change in information, financial activities, other services and government.”

In Colorado, em­p­loyment has increased in education and health services this year compared to last year.

“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).”

Help available

The local Workforce Center is participating in statewide programs to help employers hire and to help workers find positions, Mitchell said.

Through one of the programs, the state helps employers with wages and workers’ compensation fees as an incentive for them to hire, she said. The center has eight to 10 slots for that program.

The local center also is participating in the Career­R­eady Colorado Certificate Pro­gram. That program, which Gov. Bill Ritter introduced statewide Dec. 10, provides job seekers a credential that “certifies their skills and abilities,” according to a news release from Ritter’s office. Participants must pass tests in applied math, reading for information and locating information to earn the certificate.

The program “provides employers with a way to readily identify applicants who have taken steps to build skills for success,” the release states.

People who are interested in those programs or who need help finding a job can visit the Workforce Center at 425 Anglers Drive.

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