Jobless rate dips slightly in Mesa County

The number of people applying for unemployment declined in February as Mesa County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped one-tenth of a percentage point from January to 11 percent.

Initial claims for unemployment in Mesa County totaled 530 in January, but dropped to 367 in February. Claims for continued unemployment benefits also declined slightly, going from 2,163 in January to 2,126 in February.

Job availability also perked up in February. Job orders through the Mesa County Workforce Center increased from 160 in January to about 200 in February, according to Workforce Center Supervisor Gilbert Lujan. He said those job-order numbers have remained steady in March.

“As we go into spring, there are usually more openings. It happens every year,” Lujan said.

There are more job orders to pick from now than earlier in the year, but many fewer than were available during better economic times in 2007 and 2008. Lujan said part of the reason continued claims numbers haven’t budged much is because some job seekers have become discouraged and simply adjusted their spending to match unemployment benefits.

“They’ve decided to ride out the market for a while,” he said.

Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increase 0.2 percentage points in February compared with January, reaching 9.3 percent.

After falling behind Mesa County temporarily in January, Pueblo County returned to having the highest seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate among the state’s seven largest metropolitan areas in February at 11.1 percent. At 7.3 percent last month, Boulder County continued to have the state’s lowest unemployment rate among the seven largest metropolitan areas.


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