Mesa County jobless rate spikes to highest level in eight months

The monthly unemployment rate in Mesa County has bounced back to its highest level in eight months.

According to the latest estimate from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the unadjusted jobless rate in the county spiked seven-tenths to 9.8 percent in November. That’s the highest level since hitting 10.3 percent in March.

For November, Mesa County payrolls were estimated to total 70,373, down 697. The number of people counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work totaled 7,676, up 566.

Unadjusted unemployment rates also rose in neighboring Western Colorado counties in November, up seven-tenths to 9.1 percent in Delta and Garfield counties, up eight-tenths to 10.5 percent in Montrose County and up a half point to 6 percent in Rio Blanco County.

The statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose two-tenths to 8.6 percent.

Donald Mares, executive director of the CDLE, said the jobless rate continues to rise even as payrolls increase because of the number of people returning to the labor force.

According to the latest results of a monthly survey of Colorado businesses, nonfarm payrolls rose 3,800 in November to more than 2.2 million.

Gains in four of 11 major industry sectors in Colorado more than offset losses in six other sectors.

Professional and business services added a net 2,400 new jobs, while employment increased 2,300 in leisure and hospitality, 1,200 in education and health services and 1,000 in construction.

The broad trade, transportation and utilities sectors lost a net 1,000 jobs, while employment declined 700 in manufacturing, 600 in financial services, 500 in government and 200 in information. Payrolls in the mining and logging sector held steady.

Over the past year, nonfarm payrolls have dropped 10,500, or 0.5 percent, in Colorado.