Fewer jobs, job seekers in Grand Valley

Fewer jobs, job seekers in valley



Unemployment rates in Colorado’s metropolitan areas:

September 2009:

1. Grand Junction — 8.5 percent

2. Greeley — 7.9 percent

2. Pueblo — 7.9 percent

4. Colorado Springs — 7.4 percent

5. Denver — 7.3 percent

6. Fort Collins — 5.9 percent

7. Boulder — 5.8 percent

Statewide — 7 percent

September 2008:

1. Pueblo — 6.3 percent

2. Colorado Springs — 5.9 percent

3. Greeley — 5.4 percent

4. Denver — 5.2 percent

5. Boulder — 4.3 percent

5. Fort Collins — 4.3 percent

7. Grand Junction — 4.0 percent

Statewide — 5 percent

Grand Junction’s unemployment rate dropped in September. So did the number of people with jobs or seeking jobs.

Local unemployment dropped 0.3 of a percentage point to 8.5 percent last month, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, and the number of people seeking work in the Grand Valley decreased from 7,400 to 7,000 in September.

The number of employed Grand Valley residents decreased by 1,000 workers to 75,400 in September. The Grand Valley employed 79,400 people in September 2008, when only 3,300 people were searching for work here.

Job prospects may not be as plentiful as they were a year ago, when Grand Junction began a steady climb in unemployment rates that peaked at 9.1 percent in July. That was the 10th straight month the metro area’s unemployment rate rose.

Mesa County Workforce Center Supervisor Gilbert Lujan said there’s more promising news than September’s slight decrease in unemployment.

The workforce center has experienced an increase in job postings within the past month, going from 90 to 94 job orders available each day to 107 to 110 job orders. At the same time, the number of people registered with the center has decreased from approximately 9,400 to 9,100.

The most common job offerings include health care work and transportation-related jobs, but Lujan said every industry has experienced some boost in job openings recently.

Pay amounts, however, may not be what all job seekers hope to see.

“It’s not a huge, noticeable amount, but we have seen a decrease in wages,” Lujan said.

Lujan said an increase in job openings is especially welcome so close to winter, when job offerings often decrease.

“In my opinion, it’s good we’re going into the winter with this good news,” he said.

Colorado’s unemployment rate dropped 0.3 of a percentage point to 7 percent in September, and it rests in the middle of a cluster of states weathering the recession relatively well.

Five of the 11 states with lower unemployment rates than Colorado — Kansas (6.9 percent), Nebraska (4.9 percent),  Oklahoma (6.7 percent), Utah (6.2 percent)  and Wyoming (6.8 percent) — border the state. The other six are Iowa (6.7 percent), Montana (6.7 percent), North Dakota (4.2 percent), South Dakota (4.8 percent), Vermont (6.7 percent) and Virginia (6.7 percent).

Michigan, Nevada and Rhode Island reported the highest unemployment rates in September, with 15.3 percent, 13.3 percent and 13 percent, respectively.


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