County unemployment down

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Linda Dill and Linda Lane Pings of the Colorado Workforce Center made a presentation to the Moffat County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday regarding the employment figures in Moffat County.

"We try to talk to the commissioners about once a year to give them a heads-up," Dill said.

Figures show that in Moffat County, the average weekly wage increased 14.5 percent from 2001 to 2005.

The biggest employer in the county is the government, with 37 entities providing 1,222 jobs at the local, state and federal levels. Retail trade is the second biggest employer with 643 jobs, and the mining industry employs 555 county residents.

From June 2005 to June 2006, the county's unemployment rate decreased from 4.8 percent to 4.3 percent. The state unemployment rate is currently 4.7 percent. Unemployment is measured by claims filed for unemployment benefits by county residents.

Dill, a labor and employment specialist, explained that unemployment numbers in Moffat County are affected by seasonal layoffs in Steamboat Springs and Routt County.

"People that live in Craig and work at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport or for the Steamboat Ski Area, show up as unemployed in Moffat County when they file for benefits locally," Dill said. "Wages (locally) are lower than the state average, but the service industry wages are starting to climb."

Dill said that jobs listed at the Craig workforce center are advertised on the Internet and can be accessed worldwide.

The oil and gas industry is starting to have an impact on employment in Craig, with up to 100 rigs expected to locate west of Craig within a year.

Numbers compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2003 indicate 30 percent of the Craig work force was traveling to Routt County for employment.

One hundred forty-six Moffat County residents listed Denver as their place of employment.

Employees of the workforce center are optimistic about employment in the county. The center listed 183 job openings as of Tuesday afternoon.

"We've got lots of jobs on our board," Dill said. "Just last week, we were up over 200 listings."

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext.207, or dolsen@craigdailypress.com

The county commission also:

• Approved personnel requisitions for a temporary, (5-6 weeks) full time clerk and recorder technician, and a full time legal-technician for social services to fill a position lost to retirement.

•Approved a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expressing concerns about removal of water gaps in Browns Park Wildlife Refuge without input from, or informing the county.

• Approved waving of fees for a softball tournament and auction at Loudy-Simpson Park for a benefit for Steve Ivers.

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