Routt County unemployment rate increases in October
November 21, 2009
Steamboat Springs — Routt County's unemployment rate increased from 5.9 percent in September to 6.1 percent in October, according to figures released Friday by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The figure hasn't been adjusted for normal seasonal changes.
The Routt County number represents a decrease in employment and the size of the labor force. Employment decreased from 13,748 in September to 13,610 in October. The labor force decreased from 14,610 in September to 14,497 in October.
That's in line with what the Steamboat Springs branch of the Colorado Workforce Center is seeing, employment specialist Brian Bradbury said.
"We're seeing a lot of people coming in asking us about moving to another state and claiming (unemployment) on Colorado still," Bradbury said. "That's the way you have to do it, so we're seeing people telling us they're leaving the valley because they can't make it here."
In past years, it's been a different story. Routt County's unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in October 2008, and the labor force was 15,924 strong.
"Normally, we would see the labor force going up because of the ski area opening and all of the associated business going with it, but we're seeing just the opposite," Bradbury said.
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October's figure represents 887 Routt residents unemployed, up from 862 in September. Bradbury said he hasn't seen improvement in the local job market during the past six to eight months. The center's job listings are increasing, he said, but not nearly as much as they typically would this time of year.
The Workforce Center is dealing with new and old unemployment claims, Bradbury said. Some people are entering the rolls of the unemployed as businesses close or as they finish projects in the trade field.
"The outlook based on what we see for the future is unemployment is going to stay in the same place it is now," he said.
Other work force centers in rural resort towns are reporting similar trends, Bradbury said.
Statewide, Colorado's unemployment rate decreased to 6.9 percent in October from 7 percent in September. Those figures are adjusted for normal seasonal changes. The statewide unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in October 2008. Nationally, unemployment is 10.2 percent.
According to a news release from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment:
"The unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) declined in 28 of Colorado's 64 counties, increased in 25 and remained unchanged in 11. The lowest rate was 2.1 percent in Cheyenne County and the highest was 13.5 percent in Dolores County."
Employment in five industries increased in October, according to the release. Jobs were added in government; education; health services; professional and business services; and trade, transportation, information and utilities.
Industries that saw job losses were leisure and hospitality, construction and manufacturing, financial activities, as well as other services, mining and logging. Leisure and hospitality jobs are expected to increase as ski season starts, the release stated.