Routt unemployment decreases in December

Unemployment drops from 6.6 percent in November to 6 percent in December


Routt County unemployment

December 2009*

Labor force: 15,395

Employed: 14,466

Unemployed: 929

Unemployment rate: 6 percent

November 2009*

Labor force: 14,582

Employed: 13,618

Unemployed: 964

Unemployment rate: 6.6 percent

December 2008*

Labor force: 16,977

Employed: 16,305

Unemployed: 672

Unemployment rate: 4 percent

*Not seasonally adjusted

Source: Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

— Unemployment decreased in Routt County from November to December, according to figures released Friday by the Colo­rado Department of Labor and Employment.

Unemployment was 6.6 percent in November and fell to 6 percent in December. Those figures are not adjusted for typical seasonal changes. The numbers also show a larger labor force as ski season got going in December — 15,395 compared with 14,582 in November.

Of those 15,395, 14,466 had jobs and 929 did not. In November, 13,618 people had jobs and 964 did not.

In December 2008, Routt County’s unemployment rate was 4 percent with a labor force of 16,977 people, 672 of whom did not have jobs.

Statewide, unemployment rose from 6.9 percent in Nov­ember to 7.3 percent in Dec­ember. The seasonally adjusted unemployment number for Colorado was even higher: 7.5 percent.

Matt McLeod, an employment specialist at the Steamboat Springs branch of the Colorado Workforce Center, said Routt’s employment typically increases in December because of hirings for ski season. But the statewide figures were unexpected, McLeod said.

“We were all surprised that Colorado in general went up because usually Colorado, being such a resort, holiday-oriented state, seeing that go up in the month of December was kind of strange,” he said.

The Workforce Center has 12 to 13 available jobs on its list right now, McLeod said, which is typical for this winter. He said employment specialists have seen a steady stream of people looking for work since November.

They’re also seeing higher-quality listings, McLeod said.

“We’re seeing a little bit better jobs coming through — higher-paying, longer-term, higher qualifications necessary,” he said.

The center has seen a decrease in the number of people seeking help to get unemployment benefits. That’s fallen from roughly 10 a day to more like five per day, McLeod said.

“That usually means people are finding work,” he said.

In a news release, Donald Mares, executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, attributed the statewide increase in unemployment to expected “weakness in retail trade” as well as “a particularly severe cold snap.”

According to the release, the unemployment rate went up in 55 of Colorado’s 64 counties in December.

“The lowest rate was 2.8 percent in Cheyenne County, and the highest was 17 percent in Dolores County,” the release states. “In December 2008, the unemployment rate increased in 46 counties, declined in 15 and was unchanged in three. Last year, the lowest rate was 2.3 percent in Yuma County, and the highest was 10.3 percent in Dolores County.”

The release noted that employment increased by 10,800 in leisure and hospitality, primarily because of winter recreation activities. Nationally, the release states, the unemployment rate remained unchanged in Dec­ember at 10 percent.


Scott Wedel 7 years, 4 months ago

The number that strikes me is the decline in local jobs to 14,466 from 16,305 a year ago. A 11% decline in a local job force is not normally associated with a 6.6% unemployment rate.

Ie. if you want to understand how a great many people are doing with their jobs and such then talk about 11% decline in the number of jobs and not a local unemployment rate of 6.6%.


JLM 7 years, 4 months ago

You have identified one of the goofy things about government unemployment reporting.

It does not really reflect the size of the employment pool, it fictitously ignores folks who have quit looking for a job or who are involuntarily employed part time or who are just recent graduates of either college or high school or have returned to the work force from the military.

These numbers are NOT seasonally adjusted meaning they do not reflect the normally robust seasonal Christmas retail employment or the ski industry employment.

There are far fewer folks working in Routh County and among those who are available to work, there is meanignful amount of unemployment.

Wait until March and you will see unemployment jump higher.


Scott Wedel 7 years, 4 months ago

JLM, I have to laugh.

So just looking at one number (unemployment rate) is folly especially when it is basically unchanged when an associated numbers (total employed) has a large year over year change (so it is a fair seasonal comparison).

And then you say:

"Wait until March and you will see unemployment jump higher."

I though we just agreed that looking at a single number is silly and then you say wait for the number!!!

And looking at the labor dept statistics again, I just noticed that December's numbers broke a trend line. That from April until November, the monthly numbers of jobs in 2009 was pretty close to the same month in 2005, but Dec 2009 fell more than 1,100 jobs short of Dec 2005. That Nov to Dec in the years 1999-2008 added between 1,100 and 1,800 jobs, but only 744 in 2009. It suggests that we have lost another 500 or so jobs due to seasonal businesses not hiring. Need next month's data to see if this is a fluke or a trend.


JLM 7 years, 4 months ago

@ scottie ---

Work on your reading comprehension a bit, moonbeam.

I did not say anything about looking at a single number is "folly" or "silly".

I simply noted that the reporting of "unemployment" figures ignores several categories of folks (who by the way are actually reported on the DOL numbers) who provide some important context to the discussion.

I wasn't finding fault with anything you said, I was commiserating with your observation.

Read and comprehend, moonbeam! Sheesh!


trump_suit 7 years, 4 months ago

Just perfect JLM, Scott brings up some very excellent points with solid research into the numbers and you call him "moonbeam"

Whether you agree with anyone's debate points or not, you should have the decency to respect their opinions. Resorting to 2nd grade name calling does not help make your points more valid.


JLM 7 years, 4 months ago

@ trump ---

You are absolutely right and I apologize to Scott and the balance of the world for calling him "moonbeam".

Please accept my apology.

Thank you, trump, for bringing this to my attention.


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.