Construction jobs on the rise in Northwest Colorado

R.J. Collins is encouraged by the amount of local jobs that are becoming available.

The Meeker resident is moving to Craig partly because he's found temporary construction work in Steamboat Springs. He's hoping to land the same kind of work around Craig if the market in Steamboat Springs slows down.

"There's a lot of work going on right now," he said. "I think it'll last as long as I make it last."

Collins found the work through Flint Personnel Services, a job-placement agency in Craig. He was unsure last Friday how much his take-home pay would be. But he says construction work pays more than many other types of work.

Today is Collins' first day on the job.

"You can make $800 to $1,000 a week in construction," he said.

Monty Bond with the Colorado Workforce Center said he's noticed an increase in the area's construction jobs.

Some construction job openings may come from an upcoming outage project on Unit 2 of the Craig Station Power Plant, he said.

An outage is a housekeeping measure regularly performed to clean and repair the unit. The power plant recently finished an outage on its Unit 1.

"We're seeing some construction jobs come up right now," Bond said. "For the first part of the project we had a pretty good turnout."

Construction jobs generally pay from $12 to $16 an hour, he said.

Spokesman Jim Van Someren for Tri-State Generation and Transmission said the outage will last about six weeks, with work beginning sometime in April.

Craig Station contracts out its labor.

Besides construction work, Bond said the Workforce Center has a selection of other jobs available from truck driving positions, mining work and some clerical positions.

"From what we've seen, I think the economy is looking up," he said.

According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, more people tend to find work in Moffat County and Colorado's northwest region in the summer months.

The unemployment rate in the summer of 2003 was recorded at 3.8 percent in the state's northwest 11-county region. The unemployment rate increased to 4.4 percent the winter of 2003.

Moffat County's unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in July 2003, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Bond encouraged people looking for work to come by the Colorado Workforce Center at 480 Barclay St. in Craig or seek out job its postings online.

"If you're willing to do a good job and work, the jobs are out there," Collins said. "You gotta hustle and not be afraid. If you get a job offer, you have to be there."

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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