Data Sense

This monthly column is written by Yampa Valley Data Partners. It publishes on the first Sunday of the month in the Steamboat Pilot & Today.


Data Sense: Unemployment rate falls as labor force participation declines

According to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Labor, the unemployment rate in Routt County continued its gradual descent through the end of 2013. CDL figures place the December 2013 unemployment rate at 4.5 percent. That’s an impressive drop from the December 2012 rate of 6.3 percent and continues the downward trend in the 12-month moving average unemployment rate that began in October 2012.

Data Sense: Local crime rate declines in accordance with national trends

Recent data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reporting program indicates that local crime is on the decline.

Data Sense: Re-examining 2013 predictions

Since its inception in May, this column has focused on using the best available data to make predictions about indicators that are important to the local economy. We made several predictions in 2013, encompassing topics such as sales tax revenues, gasoline prices, population levels, electricity consumption levels and snowfall. Now that we’ve rung in the new year, it’s a good time to take a look back at a few of these predictions to see how we did.

Data Sense: Steamboat’s high Opening Day snow depth bodes well for December

Strong early season snowfall has resulted in a robust snow depth level in Steamboat to start the 2013-2014 ski season

Data Sense: Health rankings place Routt County in top 10

The 2013 data reveals what local residents already know: When it comes to healthy living, Routt County is pretty darn good.

Data Sense: Personal income from government sources small but growing

The government shutdown brings to mind questions about the role of government here in the Yampa Valley. How much money actually flows from government coffers into the pockets of Yampa Valley residents? And how important are these funds to local income levels?

Data Sense: It’s time for Routt County nonprofits to shine

This is the year for our Northwest Colorado region to be host to the most influential nonprofit conference in the state: Rural Philanthropy Days, which is a collaborative program that builds excellence among the nonprofit and social service agencies that support our communities.

Data Sense: Yampa Valley electricity use surges ahead

A recent Yampa Valley Data Partners analysis of Yampa Valley Electricity Association data indicates that electricity use in the valley has continued to grow steadily throughout the past several years even while many other economic and social indicators moved down in the wake of the Great Recession.

Data Sense: Little change in students’ risky behaviors

A recent survey of Routt County kids shows that sexual and drug-related behaviors have not changed much in the past year.

Data Sense: Mix of local jobs changes as labor market strengthens

The local labor market is on the mend. The Routt County unemployment rate in June was 6.6 percent. This is down from the rate of 7.7 percent in June 2012 but still well above the ultra-low rate of 2.2 percent experienced in March 2007.

Data Sense: What is the real population?

If you look up the 2010 census population numbers for each town, you will get exact population of people living in the town limits. The U.S. Census Bureau also tracks population centers in rural areas.

Data Sense: Older adults driving local population growth

The impact of the Great Recession on Routt County was widespread. There were visible signs of change such as falling real estate prices, declining retail sales and rising unemployment. However, the Yampa Valley also was affected in a less visible but potentially longer-lasting and more meaningful way. The recession accelerated a demographic transformation that already was underway.

Data Sense: Routt County's top 10 employers

A recent report released by Yampa Valley Data Partners indicates the top 10 employers in Routt County account for 22 percent of all county jobs.

Data Sense: Gasoline prices expected to fall

Fortunately for road warriors, the latest oil price forecasts indicate that gasoline prices are poised to fall starting in July and will continue to drop throughout the next several years.

Data Sense: Data highlights importance of agriculture in the valley

Colorado State University recently released a study called “The Value Chain of Colorado’s Agriculture.” The study draws upon data collected through the U.S. Department of Agriculture census of 2002 and 2007, among other data sources.