Routt County unemployment rate increases in May


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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

— 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.

“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


Scott Wedel 5 years, 10 months ago

From article: The figures for May represent 11,643 people with jobs, out of a labor market of 13,106. That means 1,463 people were unemployed.

The number was an improvement over May 2010, however, when the jobless rate was 12.1 percent. In that month, 11,679 people had jobs, of a labor force of 13,284.

Well, this reporter has a curious concept of "improvement" because the the number of jobs decreased by 36, but what "improved" is that the number of local people looking for jobs decreased. Thus, apparently this reporter thinks that people leaving the area because they are unable to find work is an improvement.


Blythe Terrell 5 years, 10 months ago

Your point is well taken, Scott. That was purely a reference to the difference in the year-over-year percentages. Blythe Terrell City Editor 970-871-4234


Scott Wedel 5 years, 10 months ago

Blythe, Yeah, but that is the folly of looking at a percentage and thinking it increasing or decreasing is good without looking at the the underlying numbers.

In particular, for a somewhat subjective like the number of unemployed (subjective because a person without a job is "unemployed" only if sufficiently looking for a job) then the more accurate number of employed is the more relevant number. So the unemployment rate is less relevant than the number of employed.

What the numbers probably reflect is essentially no change from a year ago and the weather probably resulted in a few less landscaping and so on jobs.


Blythe Terrell 5 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for the feedback, Scott. The updated version should address your concerns. Blythe Terrell


Rob Douglas 5 years, 10 months ago

I have to agree with Scott. I have long felt these monthly reports focusing on percentages are beyond silly and are useless as they don't tell the real story. The real story - the big story - is the slaughter of the size of the workforce over the last few years. Who amongst us doesn't know folks who called this valley home who are no longer here? There's a tremendous human/community impact side of these numbers to be told - if only someone would tell it.


kathy foos 5 years, 10 months ago

What about the under employed?I was out of work and looking from June 2010 to December.then got a 3 to 4 day a week job offer.I worked all ski season that way(barely making it),then mud season it dropped to one and a half days now I'm back up to two and a half days.But I'm counted as an employed.I know several people that have three or four of these type jobs to make it,but no one else has taken me on for additional part time jobs I've tried for.There are still new visa workers that arrive.Whats up with that?Those workers are supposed to come only when Americans cannot man the jobs.This unemployment would go down if the major businesses stop the hiring of visa workers over Americans.This must stop.Rob,the story gets told(at least by me) a lot ,problem is,the employers wont listen.


pitpoodle 5 years, 10 months ago

Now, just who will continue to defend Obama's failed stimulus policies? Who will say we are better off economically?
Everything is not OK. He has taken a bad situation and made it even worse over the past two years.


MsRed 5 years, 10 months ago

and it's not over by a long shot...hang on to what you have, prepare for the worst....just saying. Obama is not to blame- we need to look further back..let's say when Nixion took the dollar off the gold standard, just to start.


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