Local jobless rate down 2nd straight month

Unemployment data released by the Colorado Department of Labor Friday showed the jobless rate in Mesa County declined for the third straight month.

The rate fell two-tenths of a percent, from the 8.1 percent recorded in February to 7.9 percent in March, the department of labor said.

According to the data, the Mesa County work force expanded to 76,844, up from 76,629 workers recorded in February.

Employment in Mesa County overall also rose month over month, with 70,766 people employed in March 2014 versus 69,70,428 in February.

It’s been a steady decline, with a few spikes here and there, since the unemployment rate in Mesa County peaked at a whopping 11.9 percent in January 2011. That month the number of local folks in the labor market totaled 77,115, not far from the labor force number tallied for March 2014.

Over recent history, the best showing for the local jobless rate happened in April 2008, when Mesa County’s jobless rate bottomed out at 3.2 percent.

As with many other economic indicators, communities on the Western Slope are lagging in the economic recovery as compared with their Front Range counterparts.

The rate reported locally is further confirmation of that, as the statewide unemployment rate was reported Friday to be 6.6 percent for March 2014.

The national jobless rate for the country was 6.7 percent in March 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.


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