Jobless rate falls below 7 percent in Mesa County

James Gleason of Grand Junction, left, is interviewed Friday morning during a Del Taco job fair at the downtown Fairfield Inn. Del Taco General Manager Jesse Blair looks over Gleason’s application. A large number of job seekers attended the event.

The local job market continued its slow march toward stability Thursday, with the news that the unemployment rate in Mesa County for November fell below 7 percent for the first time since January 2009.

At the same time, according to the new data, the number of local people available for work and the total number of people employed in Mesa County both inched higher, meaning the drop in the jobless rate to 6.9 percent indicated a real increase in local job growth.

“All the numbers sort of 
coordinate along that same story line, that when we look at the bigger picture, we continue to see a downward trend (in the unemployment rate), and see continued improvements in the local economic picture,” said Suzie Miller, business services manager with the Mesa County Workforce Center.

The descending rate fits the trend for 2013. Eleven months earlier, the local jobless rate stood at 9.2 percent. But for a tick back up in June, the rate has been steadily inching downward ever since.

In the recent November data, the number of people employed in Mesa County stood at 72,716, slightly up from the months prior. The number of people considered as part of the local labor force in November was tallied at 78,087, up slightly from the month before.

Miller said that the workforce center still counts a high number and a wide variety of jobs listed with the center.

“I do think that’s a good indicator that there are more jobs,” she said.

Some of the jobs listed with the workforce center include positions in sales, office administration and support, and installation and repair.

Technicians are especially in demand, Miller said, with many listings for satellite TV technicians, HVAC specialists and automotive professionals.

The slide in the unemployment rate continued statewide, as well. The state’s rate clocked in at 6.1 percent, the lowest level in years.


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