Moffat County unemployment decreases in July
August 24, 2010
At a glance
• Unemployment in Moffat County at 8.5 percent in July, down from 8.7 percent in May and June.
• Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged from June at 8 percent.
• The unemployment rate decreased in 50 of Colorado’s 64 counties, increased in 11 and was unchanged in three.
• Scott Ford, director of the Routt County Economic Development Cooperative, said economic stress caused by unemployment has been decreasing since April.
Craig resident Diana Booco, 37, has only been looking for a job for a month, but said she knows what she is up against.
"It's extremely tough," she said of trying to find a job. "There's not a whole lot of options out there. This year, I'll have three kids in school, so it's back to fulltime employment."
Booco recently resigned from her part-time job coaching volleyball and basketball at Craig Middle School in hopes of finding a full-time night job.
"Anymore, it takes two parents to survive, especially with kids," she said.
Booco's husband works in the construction industry, which she said is "extremely slow," and is getting about 32 hours of work in a two-week period.
"Slowly it is starting to pick back up, but when you are used to 40 hours a week plus overtime, and then you take a pay cut, you know?" she said. "And they have had a lot of layoffs."
As far as the future, Booco said she can only hope the economy recovers.
"I don't know when it is going to happen, but I think it might get worse before it gets better," she said. "A lot of people are struggling to make house payments (and) car payments."
Booco is one of 726 Moffat County residents counted as unemployed in July by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, according to statistics.
In July, unemployment in Moffat County was 8.5 percent, down slightly from 8.7 percent in June and May, according to the department.
County unemployment figures have shown a downward trend since peaking in March at 9.4 percent, the highest mark the county has seen since 1993.
From June to July, 83 people exited the workforce, while 19 less people were counted as unemployed, according to statistics.
Since March, 114 less residents have been counted as unemployed, while 419 residents have left the workforce.
Unemployment in Routt County dropped to 8.4 percent from June's 9.4 percent, with 1,221 residents being counted as unemployed.
In Rio Blanco County, unemployment rose from 5.9 percent in June to 6 percent in July.
At the state level, Colorado's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged from June at 8 percent.
The unemployment rate decreased in 50 of Colorado's 64 counties, increased in 11 and was unchanged in three, according to a department of labor news release.
Scott Ford, director of the Routt County Economic Development Cooperative, started compiling an economic stress indicator in December last year for Yampa Valley Partners, a local non-profit organization which provides regional data.
Ford said he is encouraged by the results of the economic stress indicator.
Ford calculates the strain placed on local economies due to unemployment by looking at the change in the size of workforce and number of available jobs compared to the same time last year, he said.
"Those two (figures) in an economy will always try to get to an equilibrium," he said of workforce and jobs. "What begins to happen is, if the jobs contract, eventually your workforce moves because there is just no work."
The closer the stress indicator is to zero, the less stress is being placed on the economy by unemployment, Ford said. A positive stress indicator means there are more jobs than workforce.
Ford said his calculations show Moffat County is "painfully emerging from the hole" of the stress of unemployment.
Ford calculated Moffat County had a stress factor of – .0181 for July, which is down from – .0329 in July of last year.
Ford's calculations indicate Moffat County has had a negative stress factor for the past 32 months, with the stress factor peaking in April last year at – .0330.
July's stress factor is the lowest in the county since December 2008, according to Ford's statistics.
Moffat County could reach a positive stress factor by the first quarter of next year, Ford said, but that may mean a smaller workforce or number of available jobs, he said.
"My sense is that we are likely going to see a slow climb from where we are at," he said. "We are headed in the right direction."