Unemployment down slightly in July

Unemployment dipped slightly from 9.5 percent in June to 9.3 percent in July in Mesa County, according to data released Friday by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Colorado unemployment changed little as well, with the statewide rate moving from 8.4 percent in June to 8.3 percent in July, exactly where it was in July 2011.

The county added 422 workers month-over-month in July and lost 114 people from the unemployment roster. It’s not much movement in a county with 81,394 people working or seeking jobs.

That’s common in July employment trends, according to Suzie Miller, business services manager at the Mesa County Workforce Center.

“It’s kind of one of those uneventful months,” Miller said.

A little more has changed in a year, though. Mesa County had 9.7 percent unemployment in July 2011, when about the same number of people were unemployed, but a little more than 3,000 fewer Mesa County residents had a job.

Miller said the workforce center is on track with job postings in pre-recession 2008 and takes that as a sign the local job situation is on the right track.

“We might not be seeing huge increases or decreases but we’re taking that kind of gradual direction to seeing light at the end of this tunnel,” she said.

The workforce center posted 1,951 job orders between Jan. 1 and Aug. 16 in 2008. Year-to-date in 2012, the center posted 1,907 job orders as of Friday.

The workforce center posted 250 job orders in July 2012, eight more than it had in July 2008.

Even if jobs are returning, Miller said they’re getting picked up just as quickly as they have been for the last few years. And while job offerings are more plentiful this year, Miller said the jobs offered are more likely to pay less and/or be part-time in 2012 versus 2008.

Miller said August job orders are still on pace with 2008 at 202. Next month, the workforce center is planning a hiring fair Sept. 10-12 for T.J. Maxx, which is moving into the former Borders building in the Grand Mesa Center.

Miller said the retailer will probably hire 100 to 120 temporary workers, some of whom may move into long-term employment.


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