Unemployment down in July for county, state

Mesa County’s unemployment rate fell from 9 percent in June to 8.3 percent in July, according to data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment on Monday.

The decrease resulted from a 207-person drop in employed Mesa County residents in July compared to June and a 600-resident month-over-month drop in the county’s unemployment tally.

Suzie Miller, business services manager for the Mesa County Workforce Center said she’s unsure why the county’s labor force lost more than 800 people in July. July is often too early for students looking for summer work to drop out of the labor force, she said, and this year was the best July the workforce center has had in six years in terms of number of job postings, she said.

The workforce center posted 286 job orders in July, more than any July since 2007, when the center posted 342 job orders.

Miller said it’s possible some people who are transferring jobs or looking for employment in areas that have recovered sooner from the recession may have moved out of the county in July to avoid up-rooting children during the school year.

While 8.3 percent is an improvement from June’s 9 percent unemployment rate, it is above the state’s unemployment rate of 6.9 percent in July. Miller said the local, state and national economies are seeing some signs of hope, such as increased jobs numbers, but a lack of economic confidence persists.

“There’s still a sense that we’re definitely not out of the woods,” Miller said. “We’re seeing hours being reduced from full-time to part-time. Employers are trying to figure out how best to manage their business and how they’re going to be affected by health care reform. We’re seeing all these indicators that we should be seeing some pretty obvious momentum but our wages are still 81 percent of the national average. It’s a mixed review.”

The July unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in Garfield County, 6.9 percent in Delta County and 8.6 percent in Montrose County. Montrose County’s unemployment rate had the sharpest fall in July from June — 1.3 percentage points — while Delta’s rate decreased by eight-tenths of a percentage point month-over-month. Garfield’s rate declined by seven-tenths of a percentage point.


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