GJ jobless rate inches higher, still low for state

CHERYL LUCAS, owner of Crystal Books and Gifts, works on a display in the store at 439 Main St. in downtown Grand Junction.

November unemployment in Grand Junction increased from 4.0 percent to 4.3 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

While the rate is inching up, it’s still among the lowest unemployment figures in the state, officials said.

“The rate of increase in the Grand Junction area, and most notably in natural resources and mining, has certainly slowed,” said Joseph Winter, spokesman for the department. “That being said, you’re still in the best shape of any major metropolitan statistical area in the state.”

Winter said even when the economy is doing well, months such as November, December and January tend to reflect a slowdown in employment.

By comparison, the unemployment rate in Grand Junction in November 2007 was 3.2 percent.

Statewide this year, the unemployment figure has risen slightly from October’s 5.7 percent to 5.8 percent.

Should people worry?

“I understand their apprehension,” Winter said. “I’m an old-time Colorado boy myself, and I don’t see this as the second coming of the great oil-shale pullout of the mid-1980s. There’s no question there’s a slowing in the activity of the Western Slope as well as the rest of the state. As the rest of the country goes further into the downturn, Colorado will probably trend with the rest of the nation, but perhaps not as deeply.”


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