Moffat County Economic Trends — Unemployment peaks in December, trending higher than state, nation |

Moffat County Economic Trends — Unemployment peaks in December, trending higher than state, nation

Unemployment rose rapidly in December and ended higher in Moffat County than across the state and nation where unemployment also increased.
Sasha Nelson/staff

CRAIG — The unemployment rate for Moffat County peaked in December, increasing to 4.8 percent, the highest rate for the county in 2018. The lowest year-to-date unemployment rate for the county was recorded at 2.5 percent in May 2018.

Moffat County’s unemployment rate for December was higher than the state average of 3.5 percent, about two-tenths of a percentage point increase from statewide averages recorded in November. The national unemployment rate for December also increased and, at 3.5 percent, was higher than the statewide average, but lower than Moffat County.

Employers in Colorado added 9,800 nonfarm payroll jobs from November to December for a total of 2,762,200 jobs, according to a survey of business establishments by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Private sector payroll jobs increased 9,100, and government increased 700.

There were 127 jobs advertised online in Moffat County as of Jan. 25, down by about 10 jobs compared with the same point in December, according to data from the CDLE. The same data shows that, in Moffat County, Memorial Regional Health was seeking 18 employees, the Moffat County School District was seeking 16 employees, Kum & Go, L.C. was seeking 11 employees, Pizza Hut was seeking seven employees, and City Market seeking six employees.

Over the year and across the state, the average workweek for all employees in private non-farm payrolls decreased from 33.3 to 33.6 hours, and hourly earnings averaged $28.13 to $29.63 per hour.

Moffat County workers’ take-home pay increased slightly from prior months at an average of $23.13 per hour, but wages continue to lag below state averages.

Gov. Jared Polis has announced that federal workers in Colorado who are required to report to work, yet whose pay is being withheld — known as excepted workers — are now permitted to file a claim for jobless benefits.

While all salaries of federal workers impacted by the shutdown will be retroactively paid, under most scenarios, when people are working full time with the promise of future payment date, they are not eligible to receive state unemployment benefits.

Only furloughed workers are eligible to file a claim for unemployment benefits, not those who are working without pay.

“Those federal employees who are required to report for work are feeling the same economic squeeze as those who have been furloughed. They should not be denied the immediate financial assistance provided by unemployment benefits while being mandated to show up to work,” Polis said. “I have authorized an emergency rule that makes all unpaid federal workers eligible for unemployment benefits, whether they are reporting for work or not.”

U.S. government workers who have not yet filed an unemployment claim can apply online at

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or