RBC I December and January saw solid drops in the Rio Blanco County jobless rate, but a sharp increase in the unemployment between January and February, which saw a .07 percent increase in the county, continued to rise another half percent in March.
The good news is that March’s 5.9 percent unemployment rate is still below the jobless rate in the county for March 2015, when 6.3 percent of the available workforce was unemployed in Rio Blanco County.
In March this year, there were 2,770 residents in the available workforce in Rio Blanco County and there were 2,607 who were employed. That leaves 163 on the unemployment roles for the 5.9 percent jobless.
In February this year, there were 2,807 residents in the available county workforce, there were 2,655 who were employed and 152 who were unemployed to make the jobless rate 5.4 percent.
In March 2015, there were 2,811 in the available county workforce and of those residents, there were 2,634 who held jobs. That left 177 on the county unemployment list for a 6.3 unemployment rate.
Between March 2015 and March this year, there was a decrease of 41 persons in the available workforce, a decrease of 27 persons who were working and 14 fewer people who were on the unemployment list.
Statewide, the overall Colorado unemployment rate was up very slightly in March over February, rising .02 percent from a low 3.3 percent to 3.5 percent. Both figures are considerably lower this year compared to state figures in March of 2015, when the Colorado unemployment rate was more than a full percent higher at 4.6 percent.
In March this year, there were 2,874,645 in the available state workforce, of those, 2,773,807 were employed and there were 100,838 who were on unemployment for the 3.5 percent rate.
In February of 2016, there were 2,869,557 in the available workforce and 2,774,305 who held jobs. That left 95,252 residents who were unemployed for a rate of 3.3 percent.
In comparison, in March of 2015, there were 2,815,057 residents in the state’s available workforce while 2,685,599 held onto jobs and 129,458 were listed as jobless. That accounted for the higher unemployment rate of 4.6 percent, more than 1 percent higher than this year in March.
This year in March, there were 59,588 fewer residents in the available workforce, there were 88,208 fewer who were working and 28,620 fewer on unemployment.
Colorado has 64 counties, and there were only two counties in the state with higher unemployment rates than Rio Blanco County’s 5.9 percent. The county with the highest unemployment rate in the state is Huerfano (Walsenberg) with a 7.3 percent rate and Montezuma (Cortez) with a 6.3 percent unemployment rate. Rio Blanco and Mesa (Grand Junction) counties are tied for No. 3 highest at 5.9 percent. Rounding out the five state counties with the highest jobless rates are Fremont (Canon City) and Costilla (San Luis) counties, tied at 5.7 percent.
The Colorado county with the best outlook in March was Summit (Breckenridge) County with a 1.8 percent jobless rate, followed by Baca (Springfield) County with a 1.9 percent unemployment rate. Rounding out the top five counties in the state with the lowest unemployment rate are San Miguel (Telluride) third with 2.2 percent and a tie for fourth between Phillips (Holyoke), Washington (Akron) and Kiowa (Eads) counties at 2.3 percent.