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

Photo by John F. Russell

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

Routt jobless rate increases in January

Unemployment was 8.6 percent, up from 7.9 percent in December

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— 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.”

Comments

Scott Wedel 3 years, 5 months ago

Hey Pilot, someone edited the spreadsheet and deleted "Routt" with ">>>>>>".

What I look at in the data is number employed this year compared to last year. For Routt County to still be experiencing year over year job loss (200 fewer) is not good. It is better than losing 500 jobs year over year which we have been seeing.

How to reconcile our employment data that is static around 2005 levels with our census data showing significant population growth is something we should try to understand because that is a major unobserved trend. Percentage of residents in the workforce has been declining. Are we becoming a retirement community?

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ybul 3 years, 5 months ago

The funding mechanism for unemployment is the most backwards of any government program I know. When you tax something you get less of it and they tax employers based upon employees to fund the program.

So theoretically if I hired 100 people to make clothes I pay a lot of unemployment taxes, yet if I find a machine that does it all or outsource my production to china then I pay nothing. The machine and outsourcing are putting people out of work yet pay nothing into a system designed to protect laid off workers and someone hiring them to do the same job has to pay for the employer that has substituted technology or move jobs away.

Government Brilliance at its finest! Can name many other programs that are counter productive to the broader goal of what the government is trying to do. It should just stay out as it tries to fix symptoms, rarely the underlying problem and fails to think about the consequences of its actions.

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addlip2U 3 years, 5 months ago

Noticed how many seasonal foreign employees are working in the hospitality industry? Perhaps that is where the "Percentage of residents in the workforce has been declining".

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 5 months ago

Addlip2u, But I think the seasonal workers would not count in the census (not here in April when census counted) and those jobs show up in the employment numbers. So seasonal workers would tend to create the opposite effect. It does not explain how we have a growing population that did not increase the size of the workforce.

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addlip2U 3 years, 5 months ago

Scott, I beg to differ.
Had it not been for the seasonal worker, the (increased) growing population may have been employed in those positions.

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pitpoodle 3 years, 5 months ago

Hey, I thought that the great "give-away" stimulus program was going to take care of all this unemployment. Please, do not tell me it is working just great - the way it was supposed to work. Hello, it hasn't worked.

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skidattle 3 years, 5 months ago

At least that great bank bail out worked, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, (not to mention Exxon Mobil) didn't pay a dime in corp. taxes last year!

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 5 months ago

addlip2u, I am not arguing about who has what job. I am saying that a seasonal worker is going to be counted in the employment data as a member of the workforce. But the seasonal worker probably was not counted in the Census which occurred during mud season.

So while the seasonal worker may be taking jobs from locals, seasonal workers do not explain why the Census shows a large population increase while the employment workforce number is flat.

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jerry carlton 3 years, 5 months ago

When the census figures came out some blogger figured out there were approx 3,000 babies born in Routt county in the last 10 years so we have added no one of working age.True or not? I do not know but sounds reasonable. I retired 1 and 1/2 years ago after working 10 years here and 41 years elsewhere. One less worker.

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