GJ unemployment up; down statewide

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the Grand Junction area jumped from 7.8 percent in March to 8.2 percent in April, according to numbers released Friday by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

In April last year, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the Grand Junction area was 3.5 percent. 

Statewide, the unemployment rate fell by one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.4 percent in April, according to the Labor Department.

There are 201,300 Coloradans out of work, according to the department.

“First-time filings for unemployment insurance through the first four months of this year have doubled compared with the same time period last year,” the Labor Department said.

Cheyenne County’s jobless rate of 3.3 percent was the state’s lowest, while Dolores and San Juan counties had the high marks of 14.9 percent and 10.8 percent, respectively.

Nationally, the unemployment rate is at 8.9 percent.

Dr. Morgan Bridge, head of Mesa State College’s business department, said it’s not all bad news, and the economy may be reaching the bottom of the recession.

“I think there are lots of glimmers of hope,” she said. “Consumer confidence and spending is starting to rebound ... and that is what we need for the economy.”

The economy of the United States is dependent on consumer spending. It is 70 percent of the gross domestic product. So when Bridge was asked what individuals can do to help the economy recover, she responded with one word: “Spend.”

But to spend money, you have to have money.

Nina Anderson, owner of Express Employment Professionals, 1119 N. First St., said she has seen an uptick in her business and a dramatic change in attitude from employers.

Whereas employers in the recent past were beggars, today they are choosers.

“They are saying, ‘I can be picky,’ ” Anderson said. “The employers are not just hiring people off the street.”

On the other side of the coin, many of the newly unemployed are showing they can also be picky.

“Part of it is separating the men from the boys,” Anderson said.

There are those that come in ready to go, willing to wash dishes and shovel dirt, “Just get me to work,” Anderson said.

Others prefer a government check, she said.

There are some who make more on unemployment than the $10-per-hour job she has for them.

“The ones with true, strong pride are walking in here,” Anderson said. “The biggest need we are seeing right now is in the semiskilled position bookkeepers.”


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