Routt County unemployment rate up slightly
Total local labor force remains steady, according to state figures
November 25, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Routt County's unemployment rate increased to 7.7 percent in October without any significant change in the size of the county's labor force. October's unemployment rate still was nearly 2 percentage points below the October 2010 rate.
The numbers released last week by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reveal an October local workforce of 13,961, of which 12,890 are employed. Those figures for September were 13,969 and 12,963, respectively. September's unemployment rate was 7.2 percent.
The figures from the Department of Labor and Employment are not adjusted for typical seasonal changes.
The unemployment rate tells only part of the story of the local economy. Routt County's workforce remains significantly smaller than it was at its peak in January 2008, when it reached 17,116. The unemployment rate was just 2.6 percent that month.
The year-over-year unemployment rate is going in the right direction — from 9.5 percent in October 2010 to 7.7 percent in October 2011. The labor force a year ago was 13,801, of which 12,488 had jobs. That means there are slightly more workers this year, and more of the total workforce has jobs as compared to a year ago.
Brian Bradbury, an employment specialist with the Steamboat Springs branch of the Colorado Workforce Center, said the steady labor force indicates more people are sticking around, which also could signal the beginning of increased economic stability.
With the ski season now under way, Bradbury expects to see a slight uptick in the labor force and a corresponding decrease in the unemployment rate.
The Colorado Workforce Center's jobs database showed 51 listings Friday for Routt County, ranging from livestock workers making $7.36 per hour to directors of human resources with negotiable salaries.
"Comparing to last year, we actually have a lot more jobs advertised right now," Bradbury said. "It's definitely more active."
The Workforce Center held an October job fair that attracted 23 employers and several hundred job-seekers, Bradbury said. He said his office had a high of 80 job advertisements earlier this fall.
Moffat County's unemployment rate was 7.2 percent last month, compared to 7 percent in September and 7.8 percent in October 2010. The statewide unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in September and October. The state rate was 8.4 percent in October 2010.