Regional economist Scott Ford isn’t taking recent economic news lightly.
With unemployment rates up in most parts of the state including Moffat County, Ford is seeing that the stress placed on local economies by prolonged unemployment is getting worse.
“This is a significantly serious economic time,” he said. “I never want to minimize it and there are always people behind these numbers.
“A negative number means somebody got bruised.”
Unemployment in Moffat County jumped to 8.7 percent in November after reaching an low not seen for about a year, according to recently released figures.
According to information provided by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the county’s unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in October.
In September, unemployment in Moffat County was down to 8.1 percent from 8.2 percent in August.
Unemployment figures have shown a slight downward trend since peaking in March at 9.4 percent, the highest mark the county had seen since 1993.
Since March, 104 fewer residents have been counted as unemployed, while 442 residents have left the work force, according to statistics.
Unemployment in Routt County increased to 9.8 percent in November from October’s 9.3 percent, with 1,326 residents being counted as unemployed.
In Rio Blanco County, unemployment increased slightly from 5.5 percent in October to 6 percent in November with 256 residents being counted as unemployed last month.
At the state level, Colorado’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 8.1 percent in October to 8.7 percent last month. According to the department, 231,594 Coloradoans were out of work last month.
The November unemployment rate increased in 62 of Colorado’s 64 counties, and decreased in two counties, according to a Department of Labor news release.
On a national level, unemployment levels increased to 9.8 percent in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Ford contends the balance existing between the number of jobs and the workforce continues to be out of balance.
“The teeter-totter is tilted to the fact that there is more workforce than there are jobs,” he said. “What that means is that the stress caused in the county as a result of unemployment actually has increased.”
Ford said that economic stress is the worst the area has seen in about 20 years.
“This sucks — it’s the worst,” he said. “The longer this goes, the more stress results because people do not have money to spend, sometimes make their mortgages, rents, that kind of stuff.”
For more on this story, read Tuesday's Craig Daily Press or visit www.craigdailypress.com.