Routt County unemployment drops in June | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County unemployment drops in June

Area saw decrease to 9.4 percent from 10.5 percent in May

— The unemployment rate in Routt County dropped to 9.4 percent in June, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. That's down from 10.5 percent in May — the highest unemployment percentage in the county since 1992.

June also saw an increase of 868 workers in Routt County.

Brian Bradbury, an employment specialist with the Steam­boat Springs branch of the Colorado Workforce Center, said the drop in the unemployment rate matches seasonal trends as well as the rate of job pickup his office is seeing in Steamboat. He cited a current availability of four construction jobs in the county as a welcoming sign of job opportunities.

"We are seeing more jobs come in," Bradbury said. "It's still a low number, but we're able to fill them pretty fast. Employers are calling in, and we're pleased about that."

The total labor force in Routt County increased from 13,424 workers in May to 14,222 in June. The number of unemployed residents decreased from 1,405 to 1,335 during that same time period.

Although Bradbury praised the drop in unemployment, he said he wishes it were much lower.

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Unemployment in Routt County in June of last year was 8.3 percent.

Bradbury said the recent decrease in unemployment in Routt County could be attributed to people coming back to seek work after leaving toward the end of the ski season.

"The unemployment rate in the middle of the summer usually goes down a bit compared to the end of ski season, but this continued high rate of unemployment is not normal," he said.

To combat the higher unemployment rate, Bradbury said the Department of Labor is focusing on educational and training programs geared toward helping people rejoin the work force.

Statewide, unemployment for the month of June remained at 8 percent. The un­­­­employment rate declined in 17 Colorado counties, increased in 45, and remained unchanged in two.

Donald J. Mares, executive director of the Colorado Labor Department, said that although some Census and local government jobs were lost, Colorado saw strong hiring in the private sector last month.

"Job gains oc­­curred across a broader array of industries than has been seen in several months," Mares said in a news release.

Other counties that feature a large ski and resort industry reported similar drops in unemployment.

Unemployment in Pitkin County, home to Aspen and Snowmass Village, dropped from 10.6 percent in May to 7.5 percent in June.

Chris Akers, an economist with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, said the drop in unemployment in rural resort areas was typical.

"It is pretty common to see a significant drop in unemployment in the ski areas in June," he said.

Akers said consumer spending and the recovery of the construction industry would continue to be important factors in bringing down unemployment numbers in Routt County in the future.

By the numbers

Routt County unemployment rate

2010

June 9.4 percent

May 10.5 percent

April 9.3 percent

March 7.7 percent

February 7 percent

January 6.8 percent

2009

December 6.2 percent

November 7.1 percent

October 6.9 percent

September 6.5 percent

August 6.5 percent

July 7.2 percent

June 8.3 percent

May 9.2 percent

April 7.9 percent

March 6.2 percent

February 5.7 percent

January 5.2 percent

Other state counties unemployment

County/ June 2010 / June 2009

Pitkin/ 7.5 percent/ 7.4 percent

Eagle/ 9.1 percent/ 8.8 percent

Summit/ 8.5 percent/ 8.8 percent

Moffat/ 8.7 percent/ 7.0 percent

Source: Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

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