Jobless rate holds steady in Mesa County

The monthly unemployment rate in Mesa County held steady in July with only slight changes in the overall work force and the number of those counted as unsuccessfully looking for jobs.

According to the latest estimates from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE), the unadjusted jobless rate remained unchanged at 9.5 percent. That matches the rate for June after an initial estimate of 9.7 percent was revised downard two-tenths. At this time last year, the unemployment rate stood at 10 percent.

For July 2010, the overall work force in Mesa County was estimated at 78,111, with 7,388 counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work. From June to July, the overall work force declined 173, while the number of unemployed slipped 64.

The differences are larger over the past year, however. The overall work force has declined 3,737 while the number of unemployed has dropped 786.

For July, unemployment rates were mixed in three neighboring Western Colorado counties: falling four-tenths to 8.3 percent in Garfield County, slipping a tenth to 9.9 percent in Montrose County and edging up a tenth to 6 percent in Rio Blanco County. The jobless rate was unchanged in Delta County at 8.6 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Colorado held steady for a fourth straight month at 8 percent. At this time last year, the rate stood at 8.1 percent.

“Four months of stability in the unemployment rate combined with two months of notable private-sector job growth is encouraging news,” said Donald Mares, executive director of the CDLE. “Our challenge is to sustain this growth over the second half of the year.”

According to the latest results of a monthly survey of businesses, nonfarm payrolls rose 1,900 as employment increased in five of 11 major industry sectors.

The leisure and hospitality sector added a net new 3,100 jobs, while education and health services added 1,800 positions and the trade, transportation and utility sector added 1,300.

Construction employment declined 1,800, while the government and professional and business service sectors each declined 800.

Over the past year, nonfarm payrolls have decreased 25,200, or 1.1 percent, in Colorado.